Bangladesh tour will be tough

HARARE - Zimbabwe will be given a stern test of character, fitness, determination and a will to win when they embark on a lengthy tour of Bangladesh later today.

Three Test matches and five One Day Internationals will be foreign ground for each and every one of the team, as well as the coaching staff.

In fact, Zimbabwe's last three Test match series was way back in 2001/2 when they toured Sri Lanka, playing them in three Tests, as well as a triangular series which also involved the West Indies.

That particular tour was one they would prefer to forget, as none of the batsmen were able to cope with the turning Sri Lankan pitches and their spinners.

Twelve years later, Zimbabwe will finally be going on an extensive tour again, which is exactly what we, the cricket fans have been crying out for.

It is a tour that will attract scant interest, but a very important tour for both teams who are still slogging it out between themselves to gain supremacy.

The team have been hard at work, according to several reports that have filtered in, first of all, they had a spinning clinic which was conducted by a spinning consultant, to try and correct some of the difficulties the batters have when facing spin bowling, and more to the point, left-arm spinners.

According to the reports, the batters have made great strides under the watchful eyes of the consultant, as well as the coaching staff.

The team then played a four-day match against a President's XI down in Chiredzi, which has similar conditions to those of Bangladesh.

Another box to tick was the stress placed on fitness which Regis Chakabva seemed to excel in.

The batters were put through their paces at the spinning clinic with three left-arm spinners, who undoubtedly tormented them with various combinations of flight, turn and bounce.

Several players then put in some good performances in the four-day game, none more so than the talented but very inconsistent PJ Moor, who by all accounts put his head down, and scored a magnificent hundred.

The usually aggressive Moor, showed good temperament and excellent shot selection in a well compiled 132*.

There were also good contributions from Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Vusi Sibanda and left-arm spinner Wellington Masakadza, who also impressed when he toured Bangladesh with the A team not so long ago.

So, it certainly seems as if all the boxes have been checked and ticked.

Practice and planning is one thing, getting out in the middle and backing up the preparation is another thing entirely.

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Test Squad: Brendan Taylor (Captain), Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingirai Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Natsai M’shangwe, Richmond Mutumbami, John Nyumbu, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Malcolm Waller

Note B: Brian Chari, Shingirai Masakadza and Wellington Masakadza will return after the three Test matches and be replaced for the five One-Day International matches by three players from the following lot: Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma, Solomon Mire, Peter Moore, Tawanda Mupariwa and Brian Vitori.

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