ZIMBABWE will be looking for their first win since November 2018 when they tussle for honours in the only Test against hosts Bangladesh starting tomorrow.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Their last victory in the longest format of the game came against the same opponents and they will fancy their chances against a Bangladesh side that has been struggling for form and seemingly in dire straits.
Having come done well in their last match against Sri Lanka which ended in a draw in January on home turf, Zimbabwe will be looking to maintain that form as they seek to stretch their hosts’ barren run.
But the Tigers, having been wounded, will be hungry for success and a match in their own home conditions gives them a perfect platform to stop their winless streak.
Everything sets up what could be an enthralling contest between two sides that can ill-afford even a share of the spoils.
Zimbabwe know that the Tigers are limping and will look to clinch a rare Test win, while the Tigers are under pressure to please their demanding fans.
Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikander Raza said yesterday that they will be banking on their strong mentality in this match.
“The mentality of our boys is our bench strength. The way we apply ourselves in our roles as players is nice and fresh to see. We always had a strong mentality and to me, Zimbabwe’s strength is their mentality” Sikander Raza said after practice yesterday.
Bangladesh spinners have a very good record against the Africa nation but Raza believes they have started to improve playing against them.
‘’Bangladesh spinners have a very good record against us. As much as you can say their spinners have taken lots of wickets but we started to score some runs against them,’’ remarked Raza.
Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput said Zimbabwe will be looking to take advantage of the fact that Bangladesh will be under pressure to win following their bad run.
“Obviously any team losing continuously will be under pressure and they will be under more pressure as they are playing at home,” he said. “Definitely we are going out to put more pressure on them because we have done well there the last time and we will try to impose that pressure.”
While confidence is high in the Zimbabwe camp, the same cannot be said about the Bangladesh changing room.
Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan expressed doubts over his team’s chances of winning the Test match.
“I have been seeing in the media in the last few days that things will be great after beating Zimbabwe. I don’t see it happening. I have no hope. I told them (the cricketers), if you take them lightly, it will be a disaster. Zimbabwe are back to where they were. We are not where we were.
They have recently performed better than us,” he told reporters.
Zimbabwe is likely to go predominantly with the team that faced Sri Lanka in the second Test.
Bangladesh Test squad: Mominul Haque (c), Tamim Iqbal Khan, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Md Mithun, Litton Kumer Das (wk), Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed Chowdhury, Nayeem Hasan, Ebadat Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud and Yasir Ali Chowdhury.
Zimbabwe Test squad: Craig Ervine (c), Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva (wk), Kevin Kasuza, Timycen Maruma, Prince Masvaure, Christopher Mpofu, Brian Mudzinganyama, Carl Mumba, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Ainsley Ndlovu, Victor Nyauchi, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano and Charlton Tshuma.