Zimbabwe v India, 1st ODI, Harare July 23, 2013

'We might surprise them in one of the games' - Waller

21

Zimbabwe coach Andy Waller was cautiously optimistic about his team's chances in the five-match ODI series against India starting on Wednesday, which also marks his first international assignment as head coach. Waller took over from Steve Mangongo, who had held the position in a caretaker's role until the end of the home series against Bangladesh in May.

"All along we've prepared and hoped we might surprise them in one of the games," Waller said. "You've got to be realistic, but as long as we're competitive and do the best we can.

"Our guys are hugely excited about this. It's a great experience for them, and we've been preparing knowing that the best side in the world are coming. I think the guys are up for it. Hopefully all the hard work we've put in in the last nine weeks is going to pay off."

Waller also confirmed that veteran left-arm spinner Ray Price is part of the Zimbabwe squad. "Price is in the squad, I don't know why he wasn't named in the original list," said Waller after the team's nets session on Monday.

While Price has been included, it is highly likely that this series will be his last for Zimbabwe. The 37 year-old has played just one international this year, and with national contracts up for renewal soon, the departure of one of their most experienced players seems imminent.

Price's 140-game international career stretches all the way back to 1999. He appeared to have been lost to Zimbabwe when he took up a contract with Worcestershire following the clash between the board and players in 2004 but he decided to return to the fold in 2008 and since then has embodied the team's tenacious spirit. He has helped to instil some backbone to the bowling group during some difficult years and Zimbabwe probably owe him the chance to say goodbye.

A couple of India's senior players are absent from this trip, foremost among them their captain MS Dhoni, but Waller stressed the visitors' strength in depth and rejected any idea that Zimbabwe considered the squad a depleted one.

"I think they've just got so many players," he said. "With the new guys who've come in, I don't think there's a huge difference to be honest. We know that they're all very good cricketers, so we don't look at it like a weakened attack at all."

Waller has been working with a training squad for the last two months, having brought in Yorkshire fitness coach Tom Summers following the departure of long-time trainer Lorraine Chivandire. Waller has made fitness one of his top priorities and Zimbabwe's intensive training session, which stretched over several hours, was at odds with India's.

The visitors will still have been slightly jet-lagged, having arrived on Sunday night, and were tasked with nothing more than some light fielding and a relaxed football match during their afternoon session.

Apart from their training camp, Zimbabwe's preparations included a three-day game against Australia A this weekend that the visitors won by 80 runs. Zimbabwe's batsmen failed to complement the hard work of their bowlers, who had utilised the bowler-friendly Country Club pitch very well.

Waller suggested that the batsmen would have an easier time at the Harare Sports Club, where the first three ODIs will be played before moving to Bulawayo.

"We're not shaken at all," insisted Waller. "It was quite an interesting wicket [at Country Club], quite a difficult wicket. I think the guys are actually quite positive about it, because they were a damn good bowling side. And I think we know it's a lot harder batting on the wicket there than it will be at Sports Club. "

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ghostcall on July 23, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    I always appreciated Zimbabwe cricket and the downtrend of Zimbabwe cricket in the last decade is a major blow to the global cricket. A true fan never want cricket to be limited to 3-4 teams in Asia plus one in Oceania n UK.. it has to be promoted. Its really depressing that there are no exceptional talents after Streak, Flower brothers n few other players. In Recent times this team lacked motivation and most obviously the financial support..though motivation seems to be cropping up but it would nt last long unless the existing players r paid decently..I would really love to see BCCI n ICC acts fast n comes in support of teams like Zim, Ireland and Afghanistan.. their presence and efforts should be appreciated n promoted rather than taking them for granted..... now coming back to this seriies, I m excited to see the bowling talent of Zimbabwe against relatively inexperienced batsman, performance of Mohit Sharma n Rasool ...predicting 3-2 in India favour albeit Cricket would win

  • on July 23, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    They could have added a couple of T-20's at least

  • Sir_Ivor on July 23, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    This Zimbabwe side is certainly on the way up. India would be well advised to play their very best because, Zimbabwe look pretty good and are playing at home. I expect Parvez Rasool,Shami Ahmed and Mohit Sharma to make a big mark on the Indian side.A good series in prospect.

  • gsingh7 on July 23, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    al the best to both team .cud see a whitewash of zimbabwe by best team in the world. i dont see them competing , unlike what their coach tries to convey us. we know indian players will play to their full potential to seal their place in the team.

  • Troyd on July 23, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    " we MIGHT win ONE game", love the optimism Andy! while it might be realistic, better to keep things vague than say that- though in fairness he does go on to say the real aim is 'to be competitive' .. and thats better put. I will be watching the fielding closley. we have a tradition of being excellent, while recently we have been abysmal. This will be a key measure of Wallers short term impact. For those with their knives out for Mr Waller, please judge him by sensible standards. Don't compare the final results of this series against your Fantasy Results, compare them with recent performances of this same squad, & bear in mind the opposition! i would be happy with a 4-1 loss, if progress was shown in the fielding - (and i can say that because i'm not the manager).

  • on July 23, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    I don't understand how people term this team as a NEW one/ experimental one... Most of these players in the squad have had previous experience of playing in national colours albeit unsuccessfully... so it is more of a chance for the fringe players to strike a reminder to the selectors of their capabilities... as far as pujara is concerned, we all know that he is very much a capable limited overs player and it doesn't take an Einstein to understand that he is managed in the right way by the selectors-warm him up with this series and then utilize him fully on the tour to SA which is the top priority for india...

  • 777aditya on July 23, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    still cant forget the horror of a series Raina captained last time in Zimbabwe

  • on July 23, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    India lost both game against Zim when they toured last time under Raina captaincy..Don`t see much changes with the Indian team compared to last time.However selectors could have given chances for senior players like gambir,sehwag,yuvraj,bhajji and zaheer to prove their match fitness and get used to foriegn conditions.The upcoming SA tour has 7 odi`s and this Zim tour could have been used as a platform for seniors to stage a comeback.

  • ZCFOutkast on July 23, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    A lot hinges on the magic a healthy Vitori can whip with his left hand. If he hits the right areas, enough damage will be done early to ensure Utseya&Chigumbura suffocate the Indian middle order later on. Elton is very proficient against left handers, so with Raina&Jadeja a huge part of it, I can't see India recovering from the loses of Pujara, Dhawan&Kholi once Vitori is done. If I were Taylor, I'd be more than happy to let Rohit 'Misbah' Sharma bat through!

    Should Price play? Yes, I think he should play all 3 games in Harare alongside Utseya. It's pretty clear one from Jarvis/Chatara/Chinouya will regularly partner Vitori, so runs are in the offing for the Indians if they bat long.

    Once the series heads to Bulawayo it would be wise to drop all present seamers in the squad and bring back Mpofu, Rainsford&Panyangara(Shingi should've played in Harare). Many records may be in danger!

    Our batting worries me, but I hope they surprise me. Will reserve judgement till after the first game.

  • ZCFOutkast on July 23, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    A lot hinges on the magic a healthy Vitori can whip with his left hand. If he hits the right areas, enough damage will be done early to ensure Utseya&Chigumbura suffocate the Indian middle order later on. Elton is very proficient against left handers, so with Raina&Jadeja a huge part of it, I can't see India recovering from the loses of Pujara, Dhawan&Kholi once Vitori is done. If I were Taylor, I'd be more than happy to let Rohit 'Misbah' Sharma bat through!

    Should Price play? Yes, I think he should play all 3 games in Harare alongside Utseya. It's pretty clear one from Jarvis/Chatara/Chinouya will regularly partner Vitori, so runs are in the offing for the Indians if they bat long.

    Once the series heads to Bulawayo it would be wise to drop all present seamers in the squad and bring back Mpofu, Rainsford&Panyangara(Shingi should've played in Harare). Many records may be in danger!

    Our batting worries me, but I hope they surprise me. Will reserve judgement till after the first game.

  • ghostcall on July 23, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    I always appreciated Zimbabwe cricket and the downtrend of Zimbabwe cricket in the last decade is a major blow to the global cricket. A true fan never want cricket to be limited to 3-4 teams in Asia plus one in Oceania n UK.. it has to be promoted. Its really depressing that there are no exceptional talents after Streak, Flower brothers n few other players. In Recent times this team lacked motivation and most obviously the financial support..though motivation seems to be cropping up but it would nt last long unless the existing players r paid decently..I would really love to see BCCI n ICC acts fast n comes in support of teams like Zim, Ireland and Afghanistan.. their presence and efforts should be appreciated n promoted rather than taking them for granted..... now coming back to this seriies, I m excited to see the bowling talent of Zimbabwe against relatively inexperienced batsman, performance of Mohit Sharma n Rasool ...predicting 3-2 in India favour albeit Cricket would win

  • on July 23, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    They could have added a couple of T-20's at least

  • Sir_Ivor on July 23, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    This Zimbabwe side is certainly on the way up. India would be well advised to play their very best because, Zimbabwe look pretty good and are playing at home. I expect Parvez Rasool,Shami Ahmed and Mohit Sharma to make a big mark on the Indian side.A good series in prospect.

  • gsingh7 on July 23, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    al the best to both team .cud see a whitewash of zimbabwe by best team in the world. i dont see them competing , unlike what their coach tries to convey us. we know indian players will play to their full potential to seal their place in the team.

  • Troyd on July 23, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    " we MIGHT win ONE game", love the optimism Andy! while it might be realistic, better to keep things vague than say that- though in fairness he does go on to say the real aim is 'to be competitive' .. and thats better put. I will be watching the fielding closley. we have a tradition of being excellent, while recently we have been abysmal. This will be a key measure of Wallers short term impact. For those with their knives out for Mr Waller, please judge him by sensible standards. Don't compare the final results of this series against your Fantasy Results, compare them with recent performances of this same squad, & bear in mind the opposition! i would be happy with a 4-1 loss, if progress was shown in the fielding - (and i can say that because i'm not the manager).

  • on July 23, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    I don't understand how people term this team as a NEW one/ experimental one... Most of these players in the squad have had previous experience of playing in national colours albeit unsuccessfully... so it is more of a chance for the fringe players to strike a reminder to the selectors of their capabilities... as far as pujara is concerned, we all know that he is very much a capable limited overs player and it doesn't take an Einstein to understand that he is managed in the right way by the selectors-warm him up with this series and then utilize him fully on the tour to SA which is the top priority for india...

  • 777aditya on July 23, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    still cant forget the horror of a series Raina captained last time in Zimbabwe

  • on July 23, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    India lost both game against Zim when they toured last time under Raina captaincy..Don`t see much changes with the Indian team compared to last time.However selectors could have given chances for senior players like gambir,sehwag,yuvraj,bhajji and zaheer to prove their match fitness and get used to foriegn conditions.The upcoming SA tour has 7 odi`s and this Zim tour could have been used as a platform for seniors to stage a comeback.

  • ZCFOutkast on July 23, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    A lot hinges on the magic a healthy Vitori can whip with his left hand. If he hits the right areas, enough damage will be done early to ensure Utseya&Chigumbura suffocate the Indian middle order later on. Elton is very proficient against left handers, so with Raina&Jadeja a huge part of it, I can't see India recovering from the loses of Pujara, Dhawan&Kholi once Vitori is done. If I were Taylor, I'd be more than happy to let Rohit 'Misbah' Sharma bat through!

    Should Price play? Yes, I think he should play all 3 games in Harare alongside Utseya. It's pretty clear one from Jarvis/Chatara/Chinouya will regularly partner Vitori, so runs are in the offing for the Indians if they bat long.

    Once the series heads to Bulawayo it would be wise to drop all present seamers in the squad and bring back Mpofu, Rainsford&Panyangara(Shingi should've played in Harare). Many records may be in danger!

    Our batting worries me, but I hope they surprise me. Will reserve judgement till after the first game.

  • ZCFOutkast on July 23, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    A lot hinges on the magic a healthy Vitori can whip with his left hand. If he hits the right areas, enough damage will be done early to ensure Utseya&Chigumbura suffocate the Indian middle order later on. Elton is very proficient against left handers, so with Raina&Jadeja a huge part of it, I can't see India recovering from the loses of Pujara, Dhawan&Kholi once Vitori is done. If I were Taylor, I'd be more than happy to let Rohit 'Misbah' Sharma bat through!

    Should Price play? Yes, I think he should play all 3 games in Harare alongside Utseya. It's pretty clear one from Jarvis/Chatara/Chinouya will regularly partner Vitori, so runs are in the offing for the Indians if they bat long.

    Once the series heads to Bulawayo it would be wise to drop all present seamers in the squad and bring back Mpofu, Rainsford&Panyangara(Shingi should've played in Harare). Many records may be in danger!

    Our batting worries me, but I hope they surprise me. Will reserve judgement till after the first game.

  • binu.emiliya on July 23, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    The bowling unit should be like this Vinay,Mohith,Shami and for spionning option i will go for Jadeja and Rasool becuase Rasool is an Offie who can replace another off spinner Aswin and I really want Raydu to get one or two games

  • Naresh28 on July 23, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    While India has a strong batting lineup, their bowling is a bit 'green' It would be nice if some of the young bowlers put their hands up and is actually a good opportunity for them. Once long ago we had a young India play in Zimbabwe which had names of Kumble, Ganguly, Dravid - they went on and played for India.

  • Rohit... on July 23, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    My appeal to my fellow Indians-" Don't be over-confident"...Baring Kohli and Raina,all are new to the team....Even Rohit was out of the team before CT...The bowling line-up is completely new and we never know how Zim will play knowing that they are against the World Champions...

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 23, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    @Albert_cambell: Optimism doesn't hurt but you are taking it to the extreme. India will never underestimate any opposition and will play solid cricket to bury Zimbabwe before they know it. 5-0 should be the final scoreline in favour of India.

  • on July 23, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Surprise india!! Well All the best Zimbabwe

  • DILEEPMJOHN on July 23, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Its a good chance for Indian youngsters to showcase their talents.Rohit may have certain things to prove.One being to convert 50s to 100s and other being to improve the SR as an opening batsman.Indian bowling line up is inexperienced and hence Zim may score above 250 in atleast 2 of the first 3 matches in Harare.So in case Indian batsman fails in a match, there could be an upset. Players to watch out for in ZIM team are B Taylor in batting and Ray Price in bowling.Price has played 100+ matches with Econ of 3.99..! which is excellent.Prosper Utseya is another bowler with a good Econ of 4.3.Anyways it might not be easy walk for India because India lacks experience in bowling and Indian batsman except Kohli and Raina are not used to ZIM conditions.It will be a good learning experience for Indian youngsters

  • vidya88 on July 23, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    It will be Ind all the way but beware we cannot take Zim lightly since they are

    capable of surprising any team.

  • Albert_cambell on July 23, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    It will be a big surprise if India even manages to win a game...lol. Zimbabwe are clear favourites for this series.

  • on July 23, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    Some relaxations matches are coming up for India.. best chance for youngsters to show up there talent.. This is a kind of series where if you lose people starts barking on you.. and if you win there will not be any impact on anyone because people are expecting you to win ..... so beware No. 1 team and all the best .. India currently is in the position where we want them to see desperately in year around 2004-2009 ... what a relief !!!!!

  • on July 23, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    go Zimbabwe, take India to it's limit

  • Narbavi on July 23, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    Against this new look squad, you might surprise india even in two games, i believe the first game is the best chance for you guys to surprise us and win a game!!

  • Narbavi on July 23, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    Against this new look squad, you might surprise india even in two games, i believe the first game is the best chance for you guys to surprise us and win a game!!

  • on July 23, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    go Zimbabwe, take India to it's limit

  • on July 23, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    Some relaxations matches are coming up for India.. best chance for youngsters to show up there talent.. This is a kind of series where if you lose people starts barking on you.. and if you win there will not be any impact on anyone because people are expecting you to win ..... so beware No. 1 team and all the best .. India currently is in the position where we want them to see desperately in year around 2004-2009 ... what a relief !!!!!

  • Albert_cambell on July 23, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    It will be a big surprise if India even manages to win a game...lol. Zimbabwe are clear favourites for this series.

  • vidya88 on July 23, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    It will be Ind all the way but beware we cannot take Zim lightly since they are

    capable of surprising any team.

  • DILEEPMJOHN on July 23, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Its a good chance for Indian youngsters to showcase their talents.Rohit may have certain things to prove.One being to convert 50s to 100s and other being to improve the SR as an opening batsman.Indian bowling line up is inexperienced and hence Zim may score above 250 in atleast 2 of the first 3 matches in Harare.So in case Indian batsman fails in a match, there could be an upset. Players to watch out for in ZIM team are B Taylor in batting and Ray Price in bowling.Price has played 100+ matches with Econ of 3.99..! which is excellent.Prosper Utseya is another bowler with a good Econ of 4.3.Anyways it might not be easy walk for India because India lacks experience in bowling and Indian batsman except Kohli and Raina are not used to ZIM conditions.It will be a good learning experience for Indian youngsters

  • on July 23, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Surprise india!! Well All the best Zimbabwe

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 23, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    @Albert_cambell: Optimism doesn't hurt but you are taking it to the extreme. India will never underestimate any opposition and will play solid cricket to bury Zimbabwe before they know it. 5-0 should be the final scoreline in favour of India.

  • Rohit... on July 23, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    My appeal to my fellow Indians-" Don't be over-confident"...Baring Kohli and Raina,all are new to the team....Even Rohit was out of the team before CT...The bowling line-up is completely new and we never know how Zim will play knowing that they are against the World Champions...

  • Naresh28 on July 23, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    While India has a strong batting lineup, their bowling is a bit 'green' It would be nice if some of the young bowlers put their hands up and is actually a good opportunity for them. Once long ago we had a young India play in Zimbabwe which had names of Kumble, Ganguly, Dravid - they went on and played for India.