Bangladesh in Zimbabwe 2011 July 29, 2011

We're ready for Tests - Campbell

ESPNcricinfo staff

National selector Alistair Campbell believes Zimbabwe's preparations for their return to Test cricket will stand them in good stead, but admitted that mental strength remained the team's greatest challenge. Zimbabwe are due to return to Tests with a one-off match against Bangladesh, starting on August 4.

"Obviously there will be nerves flying around on our side because everyone will be watching how we are going to perform," Campbell said. "But the players realise the expectations and they would need to give a good account of themselves. Of course, there is going to be pressure on the boys as they may push too hard to impress.

"But in any professional sport you need to apply the mental strength and be able to play under pressure. In our case we have to improve on that part. I believe the more we play at the highest level the more we will be able to improve."

Bangladesh's tour of Zimbabwe is due to start with a three-day warm-up match against a Zimbabwe XI in Harare, starting on Saturday. The match will provide valuable practice in long format cricket for Bangladesh, as they haven't have played a Test since the Old Trafford match almost 14 months ago.

While a few members of the Test squad - such as offspinner Nasir Hossain, national regular Junaid Siddique and the recalled Mohammad Ashraful - played a couple of unofficial Tests for Bangladesh A against South Africa A in April, Bangladesh's preparations have been limited to a long fitness camp and some two-day games against the Academy side before the tour. Still, captain Shakib Al Hasan believes that they go into the series as favourites.

The Zimbabweans have sought to test themselves against A sides from South Africa and Australia. While team success has been lacking, there have been good individual performances from both batsmen and bowlers and coach Alan Butcher argued that Zimbabwe would click if both groups performed well during the course of a match.

"The boys have shown improvement in their performance. Of course in the end people look at results, but we need to appreciate their efforts and see where they went wrong and work on that for future matches," he said. "On a day our batting performs well the bowling will not be very good and when our bowlers do well then our batting line up crumbles hopelessly. So we need to work on having both departments standing up strong."

Campbell reinforced Butcher's statements, saying Zimbabwe needed more exposure in order to develop as a team. He stressed, however, that there was no question of Zimbabwe's readiness to face Bangladesh.

"We are really excited that we have more commitments coming up in the next two to three months. Facing opposition that includes players like Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus should help raise our confidence," said Campbell.

"We are very ready for it because we have our experienced players like Tatenda Taibu, Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor and Elton Chigumbura all showing signs of good form. These are the people who should carry us through and again we have seen younger players like Brian Vitori doing well. I'm sure this young man has a lot to offer and we will consider him for Test cricket in the future.

"But there are few things that need to be ironed out to be able to play competitively at Test level. We have some of our players like Craig Ervine who has been short on runs and this is a cause for concern.

"Tino Mawoyo has also showed great promise facing some of the quality bowlers from Australia," he added. "Probably Craig and Tino would need to get more time in the middle of the crease in the warm up game against Bangladesh at the weekend."

Both players will be in the squad to play the warm-up match against the Bangladeshis. Taibu, who missed the four-day games against Australia and has been out of action for several weeks after injuring his thumb during pre-season training, has also been included, and the match will also give one final chance for a clutch of promising young seamers to push for Test selection.

"Obviously it's good that Taibu is back to full fitness and he'll be looking forward to getting a run," said Campbell. "We have deliberately rested some of the players as we feel it's an opportunity for some of the guys to make an impression before the final squad is named."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    i think selectors must pick Vitori,Mpofu and Mutizwa together with experienced players like Chigumbura and Masakadza

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    Ranked below Ireland, yet it is Zimbabwe who play Test cricket????

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    Bangladesh selectors made a blunder by picking out of form Ashraful in place of talented Rabiul

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2011, 0:54 GMT

    Zimbabwe shouldn't be allowed to play Test cricket because they aren't good enough but then again neither are Bangladesh!

  • Andrew on July 30, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    I disagree with those who are saying Zim has no talent, no spark and so on. The talent is definately there, but it is the experience that is missing. The A games that were played had a very experimental lineup (most were very young) and the guys actually did quite well against a very strong Aus A team where more than half of them were experienced test players (eg: Hughes, Siddle, Hilfenhaus etc). Please don't say anything till you actually see how our full team performs. A quick look at the score today shows me that we have Bangla in a whole lot of trouble!

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    I expect Zimbabwe to play better than Bangladesh, seeing the progress some of the guys have made in the recent months. Chigumbura is back in form and so is Masakadza. Vitori, the young left-arm seamer too. And the Zimbabwean side which lost against the Australian and South-African "A" sides too was more like a second-string squad, without the likes of Cremer, Williams and Taibu, to name a few.

  • Terry on July 30, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    Its good to see Zimbarbwe back again. The FTP should have assured Zimb & Bang two test series against teams 7 & 8 every four years and a min of 1 test against top 6 teams. There also needs to be two extra spaces which only play against teams 7 to 10 as ranked at a particular date. The two spots should be temp positions with temp full member votes, allocated to the last two ICup winners (being Ireland & Afganistan). When this ICup concludes the two spots should be Afganistan & the winner of this ICup (or runner up if Afganistan wins this ICup).

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    Alister is bat it again. Why is he talking of considering Vitori for tests in future whereas he has proven to be the second best seam bowler after Chris. You can already tell from his tone that they do not want to consider him for the Bangla test, but why? Do not pack the Zim team with the spin bowlers against Bangla because they are used to it, rather go in with Vitori, Chris, Keagen as your pace bowlers and Pro and Price as your spin. Of course Elty will assist with his alround ability. Please Alister do not repeat the world cup Coventry mistake. Also do not force off form Craig into the team, we have enough strength and quality in Chakabva and Taibu in the middle order and mind you Craig struggles with spin unlike these 2.

  • Justin on July 30, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    I think Alistair Campbell is barking up the wrong tree. You can possess all the mental toughness in the world but it won't do you any good unless you've got the talent to back it up and therein lies the problem with Zimbabwean Cricket.

  • Md Mijanur on July 30, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    It's very unfortunate that two Zimbabweans are coaching the two best test teams in the world. But their own country is struggling to get back to tests.

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