Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2010 May 26, 2010

Tri-series is a step in Zimbabwe's development

Liam Brickhill
  shares 20

After the carnival of the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, a one-day tri-series in Zimbabwe may not seem like the sort of fare to whet the appetite, but India and Sri Lanka's trip to the Southern African nation is an important sounding board for all three teams.

The reasons for this are manifold. For a start, the 50-over World Cup is just over nine months away, and after India's lacklustre showing at the World Twenty20, the performance of their squad for this series - with a number of big names not making the trip - will be a test of India's bench strength and may also unearth the potential of some of the less experienced players. Should this squad perform beyond expectations, it may also be just the reality check needed to get India's heavyweights performing again.

Sri Lanka made it as far as the semi-finals of the World Twenty20, but that they got there at all was almost entirely due to Mahela Jayawardene's sparkling early-tournament form. But with Sri Lanka also resting a slew of their frontline players, they too have the opportunity to test the depth of their resources and allow a few youngsters the opportunity to gain international experience in what should be fairly easy conditions.

The fact that so many known international stars are not making the trip has irked more than a few people in the Zimbabwe set-up, but while there are worries about how much local attention tours by two second-string sides might draw, Zimbabwe must surely also be looking ahead to the World Cup and a couple of positive results in this series could only help their attempt at a cricketing renaissance. Zimbabwe also need all the exposure they can get, and with a paucity of international cricket on their calendar, this series may be their last chance to really test themselves ahead of the tournament in February next year.

But the issue of most immediate importance is Zimbabwe's first hosting of a series against major opposition since the last time Sri Lanka toured the country in November 2008. Since then, the only senior sides to visit have been Kenya, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and although the Zimbabweans have travelled to South Africa and the West Indies - as well as the obligatory visits to Bangladesh and Kenya - and sent an invitational XI to play in the Deodhar Trophy in India in 2008-09, the successful hosting of two international sides will send an important message both about the state of cricket there, and more importantly about the state of the country.

In both areas, there has been little wholesale change, but positive steps are being made. Zimbabwe won the first Twenty20 and one-day game of their West Indies tour in March, and scored two notable victories against Pakistan and Australia in the warm-ups to the World Twenty20. Inbetween those successes, however, the team - and particularly the batsmen - have struggled.

Zimbabwe's early exit from the World Twenty20 came as a result of the frustrating, but far from unfamiliar, failure of the team's batsmen to apply themselves when even a modicum of pressure is placed upon them. The weakness is a mental one, as batsmen who have been repeatedly brutalised by being thrust onto the international stage before their time have had their confidence fractured, perhaps irredeemably so. The spectacular collapse has become a default setting, rather than an aberration. In this light, six games (at least) against weakened opposition on home soil will be an opportunity for the home side's batsmen to start pulling themselves out of the mire.

The last time Sri Lanka toured they came away with a 5-0 series whitewash, but were at least challenged in a few of the games, scraping home by five runs and two wickets respectively in the third and fourth games, while only a five-wicket haul by Muttiah Muralitharan saved them from defeat in the fifth. This time, the touring side will be missing Murali's guile, while Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are also being rested.

The last Indian side to tour the country was an A side in 2007. That team included players such as Pankaj Singh, Pragyan Ojha and Rohit Sharma, and Zimbabwe also have experience of players such as Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin from their Deodhar adventure. The last full Indian side was in the country in 2005-06, and is unrecognisable from this touring squad.

It seems, then, that this tri-series may well be more competitive than many of Zimbabwe's recent international outings. Whether the home side plays to its potential, or implodes spectacularly, remains to be seen. Either way, the first major international tour to Zimbabwe in 18 months is a step in the right direction.

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPN Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Pajny on | May 28, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    guess what? our indian team bout to lose to Zimbabwe it's like a 2nd string indian cricketeres and they are close to losing against Zimbabwe that's shameful.thats are futuer I guess

  • POSTED BY AdityaMookerjee on | May 28, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    No cricket tour on the international circuit, featuring India, and Sri Lanka, is a second rung tour. I want India to win the series. The next generation will be on display. No doubt, all the players have represented the nations in the Under-19 World Cup. Chances are, the team which gels, as one, and better than the rest, will win the series.

  • POSTED BY SLfan on | May 28, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    Watch out for Ray Price. It'll be very difficult for score runs for him in these conditions. Also he'll be a wicket taking bowler. I remember that our team experienced that situation during the last Zimbabwe tour.

  • POSTED BY needgreenpitches4bowlingallrounders on | May 28, 2010, 2:25 GMT

    first of all no Yuvi thats great for starters, he is totally out of form definetly needs some timeout of game. Bhajji though he is our best bowler in almost all series w.r.t economy rate his avg is dipping day in and day out. testing young indian batsmen in bouncy african conditions is good and would be a challenge to see. Indian bowlers and batsmen both made a mess in IPL(none except raina) were in form even with 2-3 mediocre bowlers available with hit me written all over there bowling. Reality check aside. team india 50 over ODI is way better then t20 team with each guy except yuvi and some out of form players aside doing more then decent job. lets hope some positives can be brought out of this series. esp against second string SLA and utseya/price spin attack. I am eager to watch Umesh yadav talll real pace bowler for ages should be good if he grabs his chances.

  • POSTED BY cutejothika on | May 27, 2010, 23:27 GMT

    I will say its purely the plan of BCCI and ICC to promote international cricket. Because, no much excitment will be with the cricketing fans even if their country plays with minnows like Zimbabwe. So its a good thing for whole indian cricket that everyone will look into this series atleast to see how these young Indian team will perform, even the senior players themselves. Yuvraj will be one of those for securing his test palce. Dhoni and co. will have more options. Sachin, Dravid, Zak, Bhajji, Viru will watch these kids playing in place of them eagerly. Either Uthappa or Pandey should be in place of Vijay. For the sakeof one knock in T20 that too in IPL, he has been given more chances. Uthappa changed the games for RCB. And also i like make an important point here, he is been part of Inaugural ICC T20 world cup. India won. He has made some unnoticed quick fire contibutions in that tournament. Which is require for this format. He missed other two and india suffered other two.

  • POSTED BY vish1036 on | May 27, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    I'm thinking that if the Zimbabwean pitches are prepared according to their attack the only team that will struggle is India. I don't think one spinner will compare to 3 for SL or 4 for Zimbabwe

  • POSTED BY gatta44 on | May 27, 2010, 15:35 GMT

    This is a good opportunity for talented youngsters. India should win this series. I hope Virat and Rohit will do well and challenge Yuvraj for his place. They could also replace Sachin when he retires. Bhajji is not effective any more. Hope Amit/Pragyan will replace Bhajji. Vinay should play good and challenge the seniors. Karthik had lots of chances. Give a chance to Naman Ojha this time. Selectors should have included Uthappa and Irfan instead of Yusuf and Jadeja. Hope Viru will get back to the team soon.

  • POSTED BY pakspin on | May 27, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    I don't think that this tour will mean much for India as India will not be tested here. This tour will by no means reveal which of India's youth deserve playing on a grander stage. This has been the pattern by India of late. Cleverly schedule to play a weak team after an ICC event to minimize the damadge. You will see the same falied players like Yuvraj and Dhoni scoring tons of runs vs Zimbawe on dead pitches , and the poor fans will once again think that the chaps are back in form..that is only until the next major ICC event. Fans need to stop being fooled by this and start selecting batsman who can acutally score against good teams on big stages..and stop paying attentions to batsman's useless centuries against weak attacks on dead pitches...this is an absolute MUST if India want to be serious contenders for the WC...or are you just happy that your batsman have managed to accumulated the most number of centuries on dead tracks against weaker opponents for the most part?

  • POSTED BY vikram1099 on | May 27, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    I think this young Indian side has a lot of potential in them and im hopeful of a good show from them..I'd ve liked S.Badrinath in this side because of ability to graft and rotate strike which is essential in this 50 over format wherein some time needs to be spent in the centre,, Kohli, Ashwin , raina and murali vijay are the ones to watch out for in this triseries.. we might see a lot of close matches as all three sides are relatively inexperienced..

  • POSTED BY boris6491 on | May 27, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    It will be a fascinating series to see how India's second XI can play without the unifying presence of their big names. It will also be intriguing to see how well Raina can marshal the troops and display skills for captaincy, which would be another handy addition to an already established portfolio of skills. Sri Lanka too have a lot to prove, the likes of Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Murali will not be around forever and we have seen little of their 'bench strength' so as to speak. Zimbabwe thus have a huge opportunity if they can put together the kind of performances that defeated both Australia and Pakistan in the World T20 warm ups. Hopefully Utseya's untimely departure from the captaincy post won't result in disarray in the Zimbabwean camp. Chigumbura will be vital as a batsman just as he has been as a captain whilst I would tip Ray Price as the bowler who needs to perform. What will be telling is whether Zimbabwe can even match up to mere 2nd XIs.

  • POSTED BY Pajny on | May 28, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    guess what? our indian team bout to lose to Zimbabwe it's like a 2nd string indian cricketeres and they are close to losing against Zimbabwe that's shameful.thats are futuer I guess

  • POSTED BY AdityaMookerjee on | May 28, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    No cricket tour on the international circuit, featuring India, and Sri Lanka, is a second rung tour. I want India to win the series. The next generation will be on display. No doubt, all the players have represented the nations in the Under-19 World Cup. Chances are, the team which gels, as one, and better than the rest, will win the series.

  • POSTED BY SLfan on | May 28, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    Watch out for Ray Price. It'll be very difficult for score runs for him in these conditions. Also he'll be a wicket taking bowler. I remember that our team experienced that situation during the last Zimbabwe tour.

  • POSTED BY needgreenpitches4bowlingallrounders on | May 28, 2010, 2:25 GMT

    first of all no Yuvi thats great for starters, he is totally out of form definetly needs some timeout of game. Bhajji though he is our best bowler in almost all series w.r.t economy rate his avg is dipping day in and day out. testing young indian batsmen in bouncy african conditions is good and would be a challenge to see. Indian bowlers and batsmen both made a mess in IPL(none except raina) were in form even with 2-3 mediocre bowlers available with hit me written all over there bowling. Reality check aside. team india 50 over ODI is way better then t20 team with each guy except yuvi and some out of form players aside doing more then decent job. lets hope some positives can be brought out of this series. esp against second string SLA and utseya/price spin attack. I am eager to watch Umesh yadav talll real pace bowler for ages should be good if he grabs his chances.

  • POSTED BY cutejothika on | May 27, 2010, 23:27 GMT

    I will say its purely the plan of BCCI and ICC to promote international cricket. Because, no much excitment will be with the cricketing fans even if their country plays with minnows like Zimbabwe. So its a good thing for whole indian cricket that everyone will look into this series atleast to see how these young Indian team will perform, even the senior players themselves. Yuvraj will be one of those for securing his test palce. Dhoni and co. will have more options. Sachin, Dravid, Zak, Bhajji, Viru will watch these kids playing in place of them eagerly. Either Uthappa or Pandey should be in place of Vijay. For the sakeof one knock in T20 that too in IPL, he has been given more chances. Uthappa changed the games for RCB. And also i like make an important point here, he is been part of Inaugural ICC T20 world cup. India won. He has made some unnoticed quick fire contibutions in that tournament. Which is require for this format. He missed other two and india suffered other two.

  • POSTED BY vish1036 on | May 27, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    I'm thinking that if the Zimbabwean pitches are prepared according to their attack the only team that will struggle is India. I don't think one spinner will compare to 3 for SL or 4 for Zimbabwe

  • POSTED BY gatta44 on | May 27, 2010, 15:35 GMT

    This is a good opportunity for talented youngsters. India should win this series. I hope Virat and Rohit will do well and challenge Yuvraj for his place. They could also replace Sachin when he retires. Bhajji is not effective any more. Hope Amit/Pragyan will replace Bhajji. Vinay should play good and challenge the seniors. Karthik had lots of chances. Give a chance to Naman Ojha this time. Selectors should have included Uthappa and Irfan instead of Yusuf and Jadeja. Hope Viru will get back to the team soon.

  • POSTED BY pakspin on | May 27, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    I don't think that this tour will mean much for India as India will not be tested here. This tour will by no means reveal which of India's youth deserve playing on a grander stage. This has been the pattern by India of late. Cleverly schedule to play a weak team after an ICC event to minimize the damadge. You will see the same falied players like Yuvraj and Dhoni scoring tons of runs vs Zimbawe on dead pitches , and the poor fans will once again think that the chaps are back in form..that is only until the next major ICC event. Fans need to stop being fooled by this and start selecting batsman who can acutally score against good teams on big stages..and stop paying attentions to batsman's useless centuries against weak attacks on dead pitches...this is an absolute MUST if India want to be serious contenders for the WC...or are you just happy that your batsman have managed to accumulated the most number of centuries on dead tracks against weaker opponents for the most part?

  • POSTED BY vikram1099 on | May 27, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    I think this young Indian side has a lot of potential in them and im hopeful of a good show from them..I'd ve liked S.Badrinath in this side because of ability to graft and rotate strike which is essential in this 50 over format wherein some time needs to be spent in the centre,, Kohli, Ashwin , raina and murali vijay are the ones to watch out for in this triseries.. we might see a lot of close matches as all three sides are relatively inexperienced..

  • POSTED BY boris6491 on | May 27, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    It will be a fascinating series to see how India's second XI can play without the unifying presence of their big names. It will also be intriguing to see how well Raina can marshal the troops and display skills for captaincy, which would be another handy addition to an already established portfolio of skills. Sri Lanka too have a lot to prove, the likes of Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Murali will not be around forever and we have seen little of their 'bench strength' so as to speak. Zimbabwe thus have a huge opportunity if they can put together the kind of performances that defeated both Australia and Pakistan in the World T20 warm ups. Hopefully Utseya's untimely departure from the captaincy post won't result in disarray in the Zimbabwean camp. Chigumbura will be vital as a batsman just as he has been as a captain whilst I would tip Ray Price as the bowler who needs to perform. What will be telling is whether Zimbabwe can even match up to mere 2nd XIs.

  • POSTED BY itwasntabouncer on | May 27, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Us fans will always have the tendency to support the underdog, so, whetting the apetite or not, at least we will be able to savour the chance to support Zimbabwe once again.

    To feel the disappointment again.

  • POSTED BY zuzer.kalolwala on | May 27, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    Hello Everyone... This Is a Good Opportunity For The Young Indian Team To Make Their Impression In BCCI..Because Now a Days Dhoni & Company are Too Much Over Confident So That may Be a Lesson For Them.. Yousf Pathan Has To Get Place at Number 3 Position To Play... Every time Indian Team is Playing He Get To Bat When The Runs Are Double Than The Ball & Wickets Are Also 5 Or 6 Down..Its Unfair For Him..Give Him Promotion To Bat At No 3..i Am Sure He is a Talented Player Thanks

  • POSTED BY GnanasicamaniJenish on | May 27, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    I remember playing with my classmates during my school days...day in and day out

  • POSTED BY cartier on | May 27, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    This will be an interesting tour and I hope it will boost Zimbabwean cricket

  • POSTED BY KEVIN_DRAVID on | May 27, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    First of all BCCI and Sri lakan cricket boards taken a big step forward by sending their teams to Zimbabwe. Many other teams cancelled their tours to Zim due do various reasons. And its a great chance for youngsters in india and srilanka. All the best to young guns.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | May 27, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    For India, names to watch out are Rohit,Kholi who will be challenging Yuvi for his place, Ashwin,Vinay,Dinda who will challenge Jadeja,Ishant for thier places. I personally like to see someone like Kholi and Vinay doing well. Kholi has the agression, with more experience his temperment will only improve for he has the talent, its almost similar to Rohit and to an extent for Raina. Similarly Vinay can claim for a place as the 3rd seamer after Zak and Nehra is still open with Praveen the only other competitor, unless Ishant is back in contention. Overall this jig was required to challenge players in the senior team to perform. I'm also worried with Bhajji as his role from wicket taker has been changed to a bowler who will not leak runs. So its a chance for Ashwin to impress with some wickets.

  • POSTED BY love4crik on | May 27, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Zimbabwe should never feel like the "Result was obvious" against two world cup holders..They should play a fighting game against both & find the lost glory during the "Flower" era..

  • POSTED BY love4crik on | May 27, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    Good for Indian Cricket to check their bench strength before the big event in 2011 but should have toured better nations like Australia or in current form against England. Anyways all the best for the young second string of Indian cricketers..Hope they dont disappoint yet another time !!

  • POSTED BY MichaelJMupereki on | May 27, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    It is good for Zimbabwe indeed to be hosting India and Sri Lanka, we really much desire to watch Cricket and this is the only way that our own team here can develop, when they spar against better teams.May Howard never come to the leadership of the ICC, He will stop such things as he still thinks that we will give the India and Sri Lanka Cricketers bullet proof vests as soon as they get off the airport, house them in walled compounds etc.

    We want to see more of these team coming and the Cricket loving Zimbabweans enjoying their cricket.

  • POSTED BY Vivek.Bhandari on | May 27, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    I remember playing with my classmates during my school days...day in and day out...I believe the Indian and Sri Lankan players must be getting the same feeling by now...think they should exchange their places to see how it feels to be on the other side...:-/

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  • POSTED BY Vivek.Bhandari on | May 27, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    I remember playing with my classmates during my school days...day in and day out...I believe the Indian and Sri Lankan players must be getting the same feeling by now...think they should exchange their places to see how it feels to be on the other side...:-/

  • POSTED BY MichaelJMupereki on | May 27, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    It is good for Zimbabwe indeed to be hosting India and Sri Lanka, we really much desire to watch Cricket and this is the only way that our own team here can develop, when they spar against better teams.May Howard never come to the leadership of the ICC, He will stop such things as he still thinks that we will give the India and Sri Lanka Cricketers bullet proof vests as soon as they get off the airport, house them in walled compounds etc.

    We want to see more of these team coming and the Cricket loving Zimbabweans enjoying their cricket.

  • POSTED BY love4crik on | May 27, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    Good for Indian Cricket to check their bench strength before the big event in 2011 but should have toured better nations like Australia or in current form against England. Anyways all the best for the young second string of Indian cricketers..Hope they dont disappoint yet another time !!

  • POSTED BY love4crik on | May 27, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Zimbabwe should never feel like the "Result was obvious" against two world cup holders..They should play a fighting game against both & find the lost glory during the "Flower" era..

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | May 27, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    For India, names to watch out are Rohit,Kholi who will be challenging Yuvi for his place, Ashwin,Vinay,Dinda who will challenge Jadeja,Ishant for thier places. I personally like to see someone like Kholi and Vinay doing well. Kholi has the agression, with more experience his temperment will only improve for he has the talent, its almost similar to Rohit and to an extent for Raina. Similarly Vinay can claim for a place as the 3rd seamer after Zak and Nehra is still open with Praveen the only other competitor, unless Ishant is back in contention. Overall this jig was required to challenge players in the senior team to perform. I'm also worried with Bhajji as his role from wicket taker has been changed to a bowler who will not leak runs. So its a chance for Ashwin to impress with some wickets.

  • POSTED BY KEVIN_DRAVID on | May 27, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    First of all BCCI and Sri lakan cricket boards taken a big step forward by sending their teams to Zimbabwe. Many other teams cancelled their tours to Zim due do various reasons. And its a great chance for youngsters in india and srilanka. All the best to young guns.

  • POSTED BY cartier on | May 27, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    This will be an interesting tour and I hope it will boost Zimbabwean cricket

  • POSTED BY GnanasicamaniJenish on | May 27, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    I remember playing with my classmates during my school days...day in and day out

  • POSTED BY zuzer.kalolwala on | May 27, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    Hello Everyone... This Is a Good Opportunity For The Young Indian Team To Make Their Impression In BCCI..Because Now a Days Dhoni & Company are Too Much Over Confident So That may Be a Lesson For Them.. Yousf Pathan Has To Get Place at Number 3 Position To Play... Every time Indian Team is Playing He Get To Bat When The Runs Are Double Than The Ball & Wickets Are Also 5 Or 6 Down..Its Unfair For Him..Give Him Promotion To Bat At No 3..i Am Sure He is a Talented Player Thanks

  • POSTED BY itwasntabouncer on | May 27, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Us fans will always have the tendency to support the underdog, so, whetting the apetite or not, at least we will be able to savour the chance to support Zimbabwe once again.

    To feel the disappointment again.