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February 25, 2010
Zimbabwe may be underdogs for the upcoming limited-overs series against West Indies, but batsman Tatenda Taibu has said the team will be aiming to "play hard cricket" and win games.
"We really want to start playing hard cricket again," he said. "We really want to stamp our authority now and start performing as expected."
Zimbabwe announced in 2006 that they were temporarily withdrawing from Tests, having last played India at home in September 2005. They continue to play ODIs and Twenty20s but languish at the bottom of the world rankings.
Zimbabwe will begin their tour with a warm-up game against a WICB Vice Chancellor's XI but will be without wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor, who did not arrive with the squad because his transit visa for London was misplaced. "He should be able to travel 48 hours later and join up with us on Thursday night," coach Walter Chawaguta said.
However, Taibu said this team had a good mixture of youth and experience in the 15-man squad and would perform well. He said Stuart Matsikenyeri and captain and offspinner Prosper Utseya, who have played 105 and 101 ODIs respectively, would be key to their fortunes.
"They've [Matsikenyeri and Utseya] played a lot of games," Taibu said. "They've got a lot of maturity at the moment. So we're looking to play a lot of good cricket. I've been here before, so it's great to play cricket here again.
"There are a lot of times the guys have said there is a lot of talent in Zimbabwe, but we really have to put it to show now. It's not (just) about the talent, we really have to join the two (talent and maturity) and play good cricket."
Zimbabwe take on West Indies in a Twenty20 in Port of Spain on Sunday and Taibu said the format wasn't only about explosive cricket. "It's about mental cricket, reacting to situations. It will be exciting. Twenty20 will be exciting for the crowd. I'm sure they're going to come for some good cricket."
Zimbabwe will play five ODIs after the Twenty20 between March 4 and 14.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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