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'Have been asking for more cricket' - Chigumbura

Elton Chigumbura celebrates his maiden ODI ton AFP

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura has said that his team is glad to take every opportunity to play top-level cricket, after it became the first international side to arrive in Bangladesh following Australia's postponement of their Test series in October due to security concerns.

"We have been asking for more cricket," Chigumbura said. "This opportunity to play is something we take positively. It is good for our young players to have more cricket on a regular basis. We are happy that we got the go-ahead to play cricket here. Hopefully it will be a good tour for us."

Coach Dav Whatmore, while agreeing that safety is of prime importance, said that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) would have done its assessment before agreeing to tour Bangladesh.

"I agree [about security being above cricket]. We always go with our cricket board administration," Whatmore said. "We work for them. They will never put us in a situation where we are compromised. We are happy to come and play after our Zimbabwe Cricket people have agreed on the tour."

But there are more things to worry about for Chigumbura and Whatmore, after their side slumped to series losses - 3-2 and 2-0 in ODIs and T20s respectively - against Afghanistan last month. In all they have won only seven out of 26 ODIs this year.

Chigumbura said the Bangladesh tour is an opportunity to refocus and move on from the previous series. He brushed aside any suggestion of a decline in Zimbabwe cricket, rubbishing a one-time Zimbabwe team-mate's post on social media that "the true death of Zimbabwe cricket has arrived" in wake of their losing the first T20 against Afghanistan on October 26.

"It is not [the death of Zimbabwe cricket]. It is the beginning I think. We have good youngsters who are coming up. It is just a matter of giving them more games. We have a bunch of guys who are positive. Obviously anyone can make those comments. We believe that we have a big future ahead of us.

"The most important thing is to pick yourself up, and our focus now in Bangladesh is to make sure that we improve from the last series that we played. We must have some positive results. What happened is in the past. We are regrouping and focusing on this tour. Obviously it is different conditions and we are playing against a different team."

Whatmore added that it is important for them to improve teamwork and, despite individuals doing well, focus more on the team. "I hate picking individual names. In our case and what was Bangladesh's case many years ago, it really does require a team effort. We must ensure we are working for each other. We have to improve on this on and off the field."

Chigumbura is banking on some of his players who have experienced playing in Bangladesh previously, while also hoping that the practice match on November 5 in Fatullah will help the newcomers adapt a little faster.

"We are used to wickets and conditions here. The good thing about our team is that we have guys who have played here before. They will have to raise their game. Anything can happen in cricket. You might be on top in one series and then not do well in the next series.

"It is always good to get a warm-up game. It is going to be important for the new guys to adapt quickly to conditions here, so that they can play their natural game."