Bolstered squad gives Chigumbura confidence

Elton Chigumbura is contemplating a move up the batting order to allow himself a chance to play more freely © AFP

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura has said he is heartened by his team-mates’ approach while training in Khulna, as they look to bounce back from the disappointment of their series loss to Afghanistan earlier this month. He also welcomed the return of “big” players like Hamilton Masakadza, Brian Vitori and Vusi Sibanda to the T20 squad.

Masakadza missed the series against Bangladesh in November last year but played against Afghanistan in the UAE, where he scored a century and two fifties across the ODIs and T20s. Both Vitori and Sibanda last played a T20 for Zimbabwe in May 2015.

“Obviously it is tough [to lose to a team against whom we are expected to win]. It is disappointing, too. There’s always pressure from you guys but obviously we have to make sure as professional cricketers we show good courage and bounce back. In the past two days of practice, guys have shown seriousness in their training. I am sure everyone will be looking forward to the game tomorrow.

“It [return of players] is big. They are experienced, played here before. Good to have their contribution in this tour. Hamilton is showing good signs since coming back. The other guys, like Vitori, will be looking to try to raise his game to stay in the team. Sibanda is also there. They are hungry to stay in the team. It is a good combination of guys with different motivations. It will be good for the team.”

Chigumbura said he may bat higher up the order to give himself more chances to bat freely. He played at No 4 five times in 2015, including once against Bangladesh, but batted down the order against Afghanistan. He also stressed on a better batting performance if Zimbabwe are to do well in the four-match T20 series.

“I would love to come up top and have more time in the crease,” he said. “In the last series, I came in a bit early in the ODIs, so you might see me up the order so I get more time to play my natural game.

“We had a bad series in UAE. This is a big series for us to make sure we bounce back from the UAE. We have to make sure we play good cricket, especially with the bat. We were disappointing with our batting in the last series.”

Chigumbura also said the side would continue experimenting with the line-up to find combinations that will work at the upcoming World T20.

“We need to try different combinations, which we think will work at the World T20,” he said. “So at the moment we have 16 guys here instead of 15. In the next four games you won’t be shocked to see different guys batting in different batting positions.

“Maybe one guy playing first two games and resting the other two. It is going to be mainly for preparation for the World T20. At the same time we have to play good cricket.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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