Taylor: Bangladesh contest our own Ashes

HARARE - The rivalry between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh has fast developed into some kind of small Ashes between Test cricket’s lowest ranked teams, reckons Zimbabwe five-day format captain Brendan Taylor.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Taylor, 28, likened the bottom-of-the-table contest with the Asian side to the traditional Test series between England and Australia – dubbed the Ashes in the aftermath of Australia’s first Test win on English soil in 1882 – which led to one newspaper remarking that English cricket had died, criminated and the ashes taken to Australia.

Taylor made the remarks in response to a question about Zimbabwe’s readiness for the Bangladesh spin bowling threat in subcontinent conditions taylor-made for the slow bowlers, saying since the two sides play each other so often as in the case between England and Australia, there would be no excuses for failure by his team.

“We treat this as our own Ashes series considering the mount of games we (Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) play against each other,” Taylor told the Daily News this week.

“Yes, there will be lots of threats from Bangladesh in their conditions, but we have played each other enough times now to know what we are up against. We have to make the best of the little time we have (in training) and they will be no excuses for poor results.”

Zimbabwean batsmen’s vulnerability to spin was exposed further this week after the country’s second-string side currently on tour in Bangladesh was wrecked by left-arm spinner Saqlain Sajib, who claimed a total 15 wickets in Zimbabwe A’s six-wicket defeat to the hosts’ reserves side.

“Our biggest problem will be the spin effect from the Bangladesh side, so obviously we will be looking to play a lot of spin during our preparations,” Taylor said.

Zimbabwe, who are currently in camp, will take their preparations to the Lowveld town of Chiredzi to play a four-day warm-up game in conditions said to be spin-friendly.

“The training has been good, very thorough and intense training. We are concentrating more on the physical side and less amount of technical training at the moment,” added Taylor.

“I haven’t played in Chiredzi before but from what I hear, it’s a spinning wicket and the hot conditions are closer to what we will experience in Bangladesh.”

Taylor insisted that while Bangladesh’s spinners pose a challenge, the Zimbabwean side also has its own arsenal of slow bowlers who can equally exploit the conditions and turn it around for the African side.

“We saw how effective our spinners are against Australia and South Africa and that should give us enough confidence getting into the Bangladesh series,” he said.

“The spinners with the Zim A squad have also proved a point in that four-day defeat, and it’s up to the batting department to front up and make it a complete circuit.”

Zimbabwe leave for Bangladesh on October 16 for three Tests and five ODIs. It will be a rare three-match Test series for Zimbabwe, and Taylor believes there could have been no better answer to calls for more game time.

“We have been yearning for more games and to play three Tests in a series is a step in the right direction,” Taylor said.

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