Masakadza hails Mire, Kamungozi
Hamilton Masakadza smiled brightly at one point during the pre-match press conference but his message wasn't pretty. With Zimbabwe going into the fifth ODI against Bangladesh with the prospect of their ninth 5-0 defeat in an ODI series, he was asked if this was the worst phase of his career.
"We have had worse," Masakadza said. "It has been really difficult for us but we have had worse."
Masakadza's smile would have lit up any room, but it was a wry one from a man who has not done justice to his international experience in this series, scoring only 82 runs in the four ODIs so far. Still, his tone remained confident of a turnaround, at least to take some solace back home after six weeks of losing constantly.
Zimbabwe were swept 3-0 in the Test series, but the first Test in Dhaka could have gone either way. The visitors have had moments where they were in control in all four ODIs so far, but they simply haven't grabbed them and finished the job.
Masakadza said Zimbabwe had what it takes to beat Bangladesh, despite the physical and mental baggage they are under, provided both the batting and the bowling click in the same game.
"I think we got a few games where we have been really in the game," he said. "We were outplayed in a couple of the games but in the other two we came up with something. We didn't pull it through in the end. I think the boys still have it in them.
"I think it's just a question of getting both disciplines right on the day, because most of the time we had one side working and the other side not working. When we bowled well, we batted badly; when we batted badly, we bowled well. I think if we can get into a position where we can push through the end, then we can come through."
Two of the better performers, Solomon Mire and Tafadzwa Kamungozi, have caught the eye and have won the appreciation of Zimbabwe's senior players. Masakadza said he was looking forward to seeing Mire in the World Cup since he has spent time playing grade cricket in Australia.
Kamungozi has taken six wickets and has bowled with impressive control, giving away just 4.05 runs per over. He has bowled full spells in three of the four matches, and has finally nailed down a spot in the starting line-up. Mire has been even more of a revelation, having just made his international debut in this series. He has struck two fifties, and took three wickets in the fourth ODI with his medium-pace.
"Definitely, [Tafadzwa] Kamungozi is someone who made his debut quite a while ago, but he has been in and out of the team," Masakadza said. "He has come back strong now. He is definitely a big positive for us.
"I am also looking forward to him [Solomon Mire]. Those conditions [in Australia and New Zealand] will favour him as well. He has been away playing in Australia, he has only come back now to play with us again so that's another big positive for us. He has had a very good start in his international career, looking forward to him."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84