Chigumbura switches to Test mode

HARARE - Zimbabwe all-rounder Elton Chigumbura is excited about the prospects of returning to Test cricket this month as the senior men’s national team hosts New Zealand in a two-match series in Bulawayo.

The locals last played long format cricket two years ago away in Bangladesh losing all the Test matches under former coach Steve Mangongo.

Since then they have never had any other bilateral Test series, prompting their temporary withdrawal from the ICC rankings list owing to an insufficient number of matches.

The first Test against the Black Caps is scheduled for July 28 while the second and final match is pencilled for August 6 at Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club. But before that, South Africa A will be in town for two four-day matches against Zimbabwe A in Bulawayo beginning on July 9 and 15 respectively.

“It’s been long since we last played Test cricket and we should take advantage of the coming eight days of cricket against South Africa A.

These are the only kind of preparations we are going to have before New Zealand comes and eight days of cricket is worth more than just practising among ourselves and its good enough cricket to face New Zealand,” Chigumbura told the Daily News on Sunday.

The former national team captain endeared himself with the local cricket fans with a gusty match-winning display of boundaries and sixes guiding the team to a welcome two-run win over India in the opening Twenty20 encounter last month.

Prior to the T20 series, Zimbabwe had been humiliated in the One Day International series losing 3-0 to the second-string Indian side and Chigumbura, was the target of disgruntled fans calling for his resignation after an indifferent show in the ODIs.

The Castle Corner, home to a vociferous crowd was abandoned during the second ODI following an indifferent batting display provoking the anger of fans who put up banners with messages such as “What a shame” in bold letters.

The all-rounder dug deep in his form bag and the result was a match-winning batting innings that kept the Indian bowlers at bay, backed by some magnificent death bowling.

“Obviously, it was one of the issues (fans uproar) but besides that every time you put on your national colours and cross that rope on the field you would want to perform well and contribute positively for your country, because we don’t play to lose,” he added.

“But it was unfortunate that people said a lot of stuff about my performance. I do understand and appreciate the fans’ concerns but I believe the players should be given an opportunity to prove themselves and I was happy that I managed to help the team to that T20 victory after a disappointing ODI series though I know I could have done ever better throughout the series.”

Chigumbura launched into the ozone a boundary and seven maximums in his unbeaten 26-ball 54 runs as Zimbabwe totalled a healthy 170/6 inside 20 overs.

With his power-hitting prowess, Chigumbura joined the illustrious list of three other batsmen to score 500 or more runs in T20 internationals at a strike rate of 150-plus.

After his heroics with the bat he stood at number three with a strike rate of 150.59 scoring 46 sixes and 102 fours from 508 balls moving from 147.51.

Australia’s all-rounder Glenn Maxwell heads the list on pole position at a strike rate of 153.90 with 31 sixes and 55 fours from 397 followed by Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi on 150.75 while Aaron Finch also from Australia stood on fourth on a strike rate of 150.07.

“Guys showed character in the way they fought back from that disappointing ODI series and mount serious pressure in the whole T20 campaign because it’s hard sometimes when you are down to come back,” he added.

“If we can play our game to the best of our ability, we can win games, there’s a lot of potential in the team and it’s high time we start taking stock of our performances because they nation has always supported us through good and bad times.”

Comments (1)

why is it every time maplayers aya anongotaura maposibilties eku winner but when the real time comes they do nothing

danzi - 6 July 2016

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