Zimbabwe in Bangladesh, 2006-07 November 24, 2006

Batting fortunes key to Zimbabwean success

Warren Carne

Gary Brent in action during Zimbabwe's first nets after arriving in Bangladesh © AFP
Zimbabwean coach Kevin Curran believes success for his young side will be determined by how well the top-order batsmen cope with the spin-friendly conditions on the subcontinent. "The wicket there is generally very slow and he Bangladeshis have three top quality spin bowlers," Curran said on the eve of Zimbabwe's departure for their series of five-ODI and one 20/20 fixtures in Bangladesh on Thursday.

He also said that "it would be better for his side to come to terms with the conditions earlier rather than later in the series". Understandably being in a must-win situation later in the series may put the inexperienced youngsters under too much pressure.

The Zimbabwean squad contains a large number of allrounders, and Curran feels that their batting line-up is fairly strong up, at least until number 10. With the return of Gary Brent his line-and-length bowling and lower-order batting will bolster the Zimbabwean side while the team's usual opening bowler Ed Rainsford is recovering from injuries. Rainsford won't be in the original touring party, but the selectors may call for him in the later stages of the tour, especially now that the boards of the two countries have agreed to a few unofficial four-day Tests.

Curran will be keen to give as many of his players some exposure in these games in preparation to Zimbabwe's return to official Test cricket in 2007 due to the fact that many in the squad haven't played first class cricket for some time because of the cancellation of the 2005-06 edition of the Logan Cup, Zimbabwe's only first-class competition.