It's do-or-die for Zim!

HARARE - The fifth edition of the ICC World Twenty20 is looming, and Zimbabwe find themselves in a perilous position.

Brendan Taylor and his troops are ranked in a tricky qualifying group alongside Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and the vastly- improved Ireland.

The Phil Simmons-coached Irishmen have become a formidable team at all levels of the game, and there are many who feel that Ireland may be the team who could quite possibly send Zimbabwe packing.

Ireland have enjoyed a busy and productive season back home in our winter, and they also made their intentions clear that they no longer want to be regarded as a talented club side by winning the Intercontinental Cup, as well as qualifying for both the T20 and 2015 50-over World Cup.

Zimbabwe, on the other hand, have once again found themselves in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, with worrying allegations of funds being misused, and the player strike, which has hampered preparations for this event.

However, the team left approximately two weeks before the tournament started, in order to acclimatize and play a few practice matches against Bangladesh select sides in order to adapt to conditions.

The one advantage Zimbabwe have over Ireland and the Netherland, is that a number of their senior players have played in the various competitions in Bangladesh, and have become used to the pitches and conditions.

Furthermore, Zimbabwe have been touring Bangladesh on a regular basis from 2005 onwards, whereas Ireland have had precious little experience of the subcontinent.

However, if Zimbabwe were to take any of these teams lightly, they will be coming home earlier than they would have hoped.

The team have to remember that when they play higher ranked teams, they are the ones looking to cause an upset, and that complacency will cost them dearly.

As for the make-up of the team, there are no real surprises, say for the inclusion of Southern Rocks leg-spinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi, who last played for Zimbabwe back in 2006, and Timycen Maruma, who to be blunt is nowhere near ready to play international cricket.

He has been given a fair chance to prove himself against Pakistan, India Bangladesh and the West Indies, and has come horribly unstuck.

The question is, what is Maruma's role in the team?

He certainly hasn't set the world alight with his batting for a number of seasons, and he hardly ever bowls.

So is he a batsman who bowls? A bowler who bats? Or a pet of one of the coaches or selectors?

Tafadzwa Kamungozi, on the other hand, has worked exceptionally hard at his game, and also has good work ethic, and a tremendous attitude and respect towards the game, his coaches and the senior players.

He was consistent throughout the various domestic competitions, though you may find that he could be warming the bench so to speak as Zimbabwe have a number of spinning options to choose from.

Coach Andrew Bundu Waller is a no nonsense man who has never taken any opposition lightly, and one hopes that his stern but fair approach to his team and the opposition will rub off on a rusty but confident team.


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