Zimbabwe v India, 5th ODI, Bulawayo August 2, 2013

Avoiding 0-5 will be achievement for Zimbabwe


Match facts

Saturday, August 3, 2013
Start time 0900 (0700 GMT)

Big Picture

Zimbabwe played all of three ODIs in 2012. Three. Afghanistan played five, Ireland four. Zimbabwe's opponents in the ongoing series, India, played 17. No wonder Zimbabwe turned up cold against West Indies in February this year, more than 12 months after they had played their previous one-dayer, and were hammered by 156 runs. Understandably, there was sympathy for the visitors' plight in the Caribbean, the extreme lopsidedness of the FTP taking most of the blame for their inadequacies.

This year, there is not much blame the FTP can take. Zimbabwe have played the same number of Tests as India have - four. And while they have been involved in just under half the number of ODIs India have played, ten one-dayers is still a reasonable figure. However, they were as inadequate in the fourth match against India as they were when they arrived in the West Indies, short on match practice. Clearly, lack of opportunities to test themselves cannot be the biggest reason, at least not this time. Preparation, as Zimbabwe themselves have admitted, is not either. They know it has something to do with mental strength and lack of application but just can't seem to do anything to rectify it.

Meanwhile, the margins of defeat have got bigger and bigger. Six wickets, seven wickets, nine wickets. The one time they bowled first, they let India surge to 294. They wanted the opportunity to play a big team; they got five games against the world champions. While avoiding a 0-5 whitewash will be some achievement now, one can only hope Zimbabwe have actually learned something from this experience. For two more difficult opponents, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are expected to come visiting later this year, and Zimbabwe would dearly want to avoid similar results against them.

Most of the India squad could already be looking forward to what will be a much tougher tour of South Africa with the A team. The trip includes a triangular one-day series also involving Australia A, who beat a near full-strength Zimbabwe side by 80 runs recently in a three-day game in Harare. Ten members of this India side will travel to South Africa, and if nothing, this series has been a fine workout for them, much better than for the other six players of the A squad who have had to make do with an extremely short "camp" at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. It should not have come down to seeing an ODI series as workout for an A tour, but that is how much of a no-contest this one has been.

Form guide

(most recent first, last five completed games)
Zimbabwe LLLLW

In the spotlight

Brendan Taylor averages 8.75 with the bat this series. He's got a rough lbw decision, had an early nervous run-out but has also given away two starts to deliveries that didn't exactly deserve a wicket. He needs to salvage a decent score from this series as a batsman, if not a consolation win as captain.

Cheteshwar Pujara will be leading India A in South Africa. He couldn't do much on his ODI debut, and will want to spend some productive time at the top of the order before heading over to Zimbabwe's neighbouring country.

Team news

Out of a possible five debutants, India have given chances to four this series. The fifth debut, if it happens, will be historic, making Parvez Rasool the first cricketer from the politically troubled state of Jammu & Kashmir to play for India. With Rohit Sharma finally getting some runs in the series, it won't be a bad idea to give Ajinkya Rahane - who will also be travelling to South Africa - a go as well.

India (probable): 1 Cheteshwar Pujara, 2 Rohit Sharma/Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja/Parvez Rasool, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Mohit Sharma, 10 Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Mohammed Shami

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Sikandar Raza, 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor (capt & wk), 5 Sean Williams, 6 Malcolm Waller, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Brian Vitori, 10 Tendai Chatara, 11 Michael Chinouya

Stats and trivia

  • Three of the top five run-getters this series are from Zimbabwe, but the top two are Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan
  • If India win the final game, it will be their first 5-0 series win outside India. They have blanked England twice at home, in 2008 and 2011, and New Zealand once, in 2010
  • This is Brendan Taylor's second-worst ODI series in terms of batting average


"The guys are working hard, but I think it's just a matter of being smart when we start our innings, especially our first ten overs when we're losing two to three early wickets. I think the guys just need to maybe take a little bit of time at the wicket."
Elton Chigumbura, Zimbabwe's leading run-scorer this series

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aneep on August 3, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Dont understand why Rayudu is not getting a good run .. Raina seems to have more than a fair opportunity

  • John on August 3, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    It'd be awesome if India can get their first away 5-0 win today just like SL did it against Eng in 2006. It may not be as satisfying as doing it against a top team. But still a win.

  • Android on August 3, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    No excuses for a team which once had the likes of guy whitall, carlisle, streak, goodwin , flower bros, ervine and somehow they disappeared all at once on a fine morning to be replaced by some so called natives. This team should not have been inducted to the big stage for presenting a jellyfish squad like this. Just like how their currency slided, cricket team also is going the same way

  • Ajit on August 3, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    I may sound selfish or being prejudiced or whatever,but still i admit I am happy rohit is rested. He has done so many blunders ( as far as batting is concerned) that one innings of the 4th one day kind is not going to undo it.

  • suresh kumar on August 3, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    I really don't know why kohli has no faith in new comers. Being a no1 team in world we should test with different set of players. I really feel for rasool, there is no need to persist with jadeja, dhawan and raina. Rasool and Rahane should have played atleast two matches in this series. what kohli is trying to prove? maybe he wants a place in history, being first captian to do 5-0 in foreign soil. Whole management is ready to give 100 matches to some one like rohit to prove but not a single match to rasool. And also kohli is unwilling to put indians into batting first against minnows (after winning toss) which will provide another opportunity to test our quality against swinging condition. Single directional and defensive mindset.

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    I like Realfan Comment... Thats wat I am coming to say.. There s bad decision taken by Kohli...

  • James on August 3, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Just want to congratulate IND on advance for the 5-0 win. It's a shame it has to be against an inexperienced side like ZIM. We may not see another overseas 5-0 for IND in centuries!

  • santhosh on August 3, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    where is Razool...wat kind of team selction is this...This series is about giving chances to all the new guys and still Razool was not given a chance...what a waste...the poor guy is not gonna get any chance in the near future.....

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    Rather than being tempted to go for a clean sweep, the Indian team management should do two things for this match. Give chance to Rasool and Rahane at the expense of Jadeja and Rohit Sharma and to choose to bat first if they win the toss. If they hesitate to bat first in seamer friendly conditions against a weaker opposition, they are missing a good chance to prepare for tougher conditions ahead.

  • vishwas on August 3, 2013, 4:09 GMT

    i would like to s india batting first in difficult conditions and defend the score .... also i would like to see jadeja, raina rested, rahane, rasool play.... that gives some meaning to this series.....