Houghton challenges Chevrons

25 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Houghton challenges Chevrons

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

AFTER covering a lot of ground in turning around the Chevrons’ fortunes, Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton now wants his men to aim higher at next month’s International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup.

In the last three months, Houghton has turned the Chevrons into a competitive outfit that registered some important victories.

The former Zimbabwe captain now wants his charges to pass the first-round hurdle at the global showpiece.

Since the inception of the T20 World Cup in 2007, Zimbabwe has failed to advance to the Super 12 stage of this shorter version of the white-ball game.

The 8th T20 Cricket World Cup will take place between October 16 and November 13 in Australia.

“The first thing is that we need to qualify to the Super 12, then we can see how we go from there,” Houghton told The Sunday Mail Sport.  The top two teams from the two groups proceed to the Super 12.

Houghton is confident the Chevrons, who have recently been enjoying a purple patch in international cricket, have what it takes to make it.

Zimbabwe are in Group B, together with the West Indies, Scotland and Ireland.

“We need to come in the top two for us to qualify for the next round,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned, we should be looking at winning that pool, and I do not see anybody in that pool who we cannot beat on a good day.”

Zimbabwe recently announced their 15-man squad, which saw five senior players making their return to the national team following prolonged absence due to injury.

The coach gave his thumbs-up to the job done by convener of selectors David Mutendera and his crew.

“The last three months we have had a great opportunity to play a number of people and it has widened the strength of our squad and depth,” he said.

“It is great to have people like Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine and Wellington Masakadza back. It might seem strange to some guys who have been playing regularly over the past months that they have not made the tour, but that is the situation.

“It is obviously the best squad that we can actually put together, and the best players are back from injury and it is great to have them.”

He, however, sympathised with Innocent Kaia, whom he felt was just a shade unlucky not to make the cut.

The 65-year-old coach also defended the selection committee for putting the recently crowned T10 player of the tournament, Tadiwanashe Marumani, on the list of reserves.

“People must understand that T20 is a different game from 50-overs cricket,” he added.

He believes the bowling attack, which will be led by Muzarabani, will be pivotal in the team’s quest to qualify for the Super 12.

“To me, T20 games are very exciting for the crowds … and if you have a good batting squad, that is excellent, but if you want to win T20 games, you should have a good bowling side. So, it is great to have four bowlers from the five that are making their comeback.

“They make a huge difference to our bowling attack.”

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