by KEVIN MAPASURE

ZIMBABWE national cricket team captain Chamu Chibhabha is confident of upsetting Pakistan in their limited overs series this month.

Chibhabha and his team departed Harare yesterday ahead of the tour that features three T-20 Internationals and as many One Day Internationals (ODI).

The last time Zimbabwe toured Pakistan they were whitewashed in both versions of limited overs, but they did manage to put up some competition.

Chibhabha is one of the six players that made the historic 2015 tour and are in the squad that left for Pakistan yesterday.

The ODI series is particularly important as it carries points in the Super League where top seven teams will get automatic qualification to the 2023 World |Cup.

Zimbabwe failed to make it to the 2015 edition.

Chibhabha acknowledged Pakistan’s favourites tag but said that he was confident of leading the team to victories.

“We have played Pakistan before and we have beaten them before. We believe we can play well and compete and considering that the matches are part of the Super League, every match that we play is going to be very important,” Chibhabha said. “The more matches we win, the better our chances of qualifying for the World Cup, so it’s very important for us that we do well.”

He said the players were excited to finally get back to international cricket following a lengthy COVID-19-induced lay off.

Several home and away tours were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The guys are really excited to go to Pakistan. The wait is over. In a couple of days’ time we will hit the ground running. We have had a couple of weeks of training, we have played a couple of games, you know. The Premier League is on, so guys played some matches and they are good and ready.”

Pakistan have been active following their tour of England and will be better prepared for the Zimbabwe visit, but their guests are happy with the practice they have had over the last few weeks.

“They (Pakistan) have managed to play some matches while we have just been sitting at home, but I feel we are well-prepared. We have had a good chance to prepare, we have had some good match practice, the Premier League has helped a lot.”

The Chevrons are happy with the return of Blessing Muzarabani following a stint in England.

“Muzarabani is a quality bowler and having him in the team is a blessing, for it’s always tough facing somebody that tall. I hope he is going to be leading the bowling attack.”

Chibhabha suffered the heartbreak of falling on 99 in one of the ODIs in 2015 and he hopes this time around he can find that sort of form again.

“I can only hope that I can find some form like I did in 2015. I hope that when I get to Pakistan’, I can pick up from where I left. I was dismissed on 99 the last time we were in Pakistan. I have to prepare myself well and try and get that form.”

Former skipper Elton Chigumbura is one of the players that toured Pakistan the last time and is in the squad for this one.

He too enjoyed some fine form with the bat scoring a half tone in the first T-20 before hitting a century (117) in the first ODI where Zimbabwe lost by 41 runs.

Sikandar Raza also got a 100 and will be looking to add more to his statistics while Brendan Taylor who was playing in England on a Kolpak deal the last time visited the Asian country will be looking to summon his experience and expertise.

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