Zimbabwe in Bangladesh preview: a Zimbabwean perspective on which Zimbabweans to watch out for
For the 9th time this year, Bangladesh will match up against Zimbabwe. In fact, it's hard to believe that since the last Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe ODI series we have witnessed an IPL, a Champions League, the Ashes and more.
Jokes aside, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have faced off so many times this year that each team should have a good idea of what they are up against. None-the-less, Bangladesh might get a bit of a surprise this series in the improvement of the Zimbabweans, who have recently beaten Kenya 4-1 and taken part in a restructured domestic format.
The Zimbabweans will be without the services of top order batsman Sean Williams, who is the most consistent Zimbabwe batsman on Bangladesh pitches. Williams is out injured after sustaining an injury during the Kenya series. Fast bowler Trevor Garwe, who played just the one match in the series against Kenya, was dropped.
The squad in Bangladesh consists of: Prosper Utseya (c), Malcolm Waller, Forster Mutizwa, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Hamilton Masakadza, Mark Vermeulen, Elton Chigumbura, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Chamu Chibhabha, Chris Mpofu, Brendan Taylor, Tatenda Taibu, Ray Price, Kyle Jarvis
Who to look out for
So which players should the Bangladeshis be wary of?
Hamilton Masakadza is in white hot form, coming off a record breaking
outing against Kenya which saw him make 467 runs at 116.75. No doubt the
subcontinental pitches and a far superior opposition will ensure that the
feat will not be repeated in the coming weeks, but since his Test century
on debut Masakadza has always shown the potential to be an elite player.
Until he starts performing against the Test nations he will never be
regarded as such, but if he is able to lead from the front by scoring
heavily against Bangladesh he will be one step closer.
Masakadza will open the batting, and if recent form is anything to go by
Bangladesh will need to dismiss him early or risk conceding a large score
With an average of 31.50 against Bangladesh, Brendan Taylor
goes into this series statistically as Zimbabwe's best batsman. Taylor was the second
highest run scorer in the recent series against Kenya, with 254 runs at
84.66 - a fine effort, but was overshadowed by Hamilton Masakadza. The
question remains though, where will Taylor bat?
Masakadza will open, most likely with Mark Vermeulen, but will Taylor
bat at number three, or somewhere in the middle order? Charles Coventry
has been trialled at number three recently, but had little success against
Kenya. As Zimbabwe's best player against spin with Williams out injured,
strategically it would make sense for Taylor to bat at three. He would get
a feel for the pace of the pitch early on; he is by nature good at scoring
quickly and rotating the strike which is especially important during the
powerplays. By playing him up the order, the potential of batting
collapsing could be minimised.
With all the talk of Tatenda Taibu returning for this series, the one man
who will be flying under the radar is Zimbabwe's fourth-in-line wicket
keeper batsmen (after Taibu, Taylor and Coventry) - Forster Mutizwa.
Bangladesh have already had a taste of the Mutizwa experience when he scored a
match winning 78* against them for Zimbabwe A earlier this year. Mutizwa
averages 51.60 in one day internationals (inflated by the matches being
against Kenya, but still quite impressive) and has shown a willingness to
grab every opportunity that comes towards him with both hands.
An unknown quantity so unknown that most Zimbabwe cricket fans haven't
even seen him in action! Kyle Jarvis is just 20 years of age, and had his
first outing in international cricket earlier this month against Kenya.
What is known about him is that he possesses raw pace. With pace allegedly
around the 140 kmh mark, he has been brought into the team to add some
firepower upfront. He will most likely share the new ball with Elton
Chigumbura. The fans will be excited to see him in action, although if
he lives up to his billing the Bangladeshi openers may have their work cut out.
The key for the Bangladesh openers is to get on top of him early on. Even the
Kenyan batsmen were able to score at a decent rate against him, so
Bangladesh should try to adopt a similar strategy. If he is a player that runs on
confidence a few wickets could see him move up a gear.
Bangladesh go into this series as clear favourites. While Zimbabwe have
form and a few "secret weapons" on their side ultimately the sub-continent conditions - which are a far cry from the squares at Queens Sports Club and
Harare Sports Club - will probably be too much to overcome.
My prediction for the first eleven:
- Hamilton Masakadza
- Mark Vermeulen
- Brendan Taylor
- Tatenda Taibu
- Stuart Matsikenyeri
- Charles Coventry
- Elton Chigumbura
- Graeme Cremer
- Prosper Utseya
- Ray Price
- Kyle Jarvis
* details correct at the time of writing