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The Preview by Kanishkaa Balachandran
February 21, 2013
Match factsFebruary 22, 2013
Think of a match involving Zimbabwe in 2012 and you could be forgiven if you failed to recall a single one. Bizarrely, Zimbabwe played just eight internationals in total (three ODIs, four T20s and a Test), losing all, in a forgettable year. Their last one-dayer was 11 months ago, on the tour of New Zealand. They played a tri-series in South Africa in June but their victory couldn't be seen by a worldwide audience as the series was unofficial. They haven't played as a unit in an international since they limped out of the World T20 in September after two games. They were due to host Pakistan and Bangladesh but none of those tours materialised. Ironically, their current tour of the West Indies, beginning with the first of three one-day internationals in Grenada, features seven games, almost the total they played in the last 12 months. They had just one practice game, against the University of West Indies Vice Chancellor's XI, in which their batsmen found form. The lack of sufficient match practice, and, importantly, time together might be to their disadvantage as they take on West Indies.
West Indies, on the other hand, have been busy travelers, having made trips to USA, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Australia. Their recent form has been patchy, having lost all five one-dayers in Australia, before rounding off the tour with a big win in the one-off T20. Their batting was the biggest disappointment. Now against easier opposition, they have chosen to rest their regular captain Darren Sammy and Chris Gayle. Dwayne Bravo takes over the captaincy and he said his first task is to get the team to regroup after a tough tour and get back the winning habit. Having won the World T20, the expectations among their home fans would have skyrocketed.
West Indies LLLLL
In the spotlight
Ramnaresh Sarwan was recalled for the Australia tour after 18 months, but failed to perform in the three opportunities he got. He was retained for the one-dayers against Zimbabwe and in absence of Gayle and Sammy, he will look to make the most of this second chance. It couldn't have been easy for Sarwan, fitting back in to the same environment which gave him negative vibes. Water has passed under the bridge and Sarwan is happy to be back in the set up, having overcome the mental barriers that pulled him down. He smashed 90 for the Vice Chancellor's XI on Wednesday. His best is yet to come.
Vusi Sibanda has started off the tour well, cracking 147 off 114 balls before retiring out in the warm-up match. An attacking batsman, Sibanda hasn't been a consistent scorer, with an underwhelming average of 23.93 for an opener. His record against West Indies is relatively better against other teams - 447 runs with four fifties.
Denesh Ramdin returns to the side as the wicketkeeper after Devon Thomas was dropped after an ordinary tour of Australia with the bat. Kieron Pollard, who played the Bangladesh Preimer League final on Tuesday, has experienced travel difficulties in reaching Grenada ahead of the start of the series, and is subsequently a doubtful starter. Jonathan Carter, the left-hand middle-order batsman, was called in as cover for Pollard.*
West Indies (probable) 1 Johnson Charles, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Tino Best, 11 Sunil Narine
Zimbabwe (from) Brendan Taylor (capt), Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Tino Mawoyo, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Chris Mpofu, Prosper Utseya, Regis Chakabva, Malcolm Waller, Keegan Meth, Craig Ervine, Chamu Chibhabha, Tino Mutombodzi, Natsai M'shangwe
Stats and trivia
"Cricket is played on the day and if we don't do the right things, Zimbabwe are going to beat us."
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies captain, warns against complacency.
04.30GMT, February 22: The preview has been updated with the news about Kieron Pollard's travel issues.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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