Team Pakistan has been on a winning spree in the recent past and was seen bagging ODI and T20I series against South Africa. Thus, it will be a tough match for Zimbabwe ahead of their home series against Pakistan, but former test opener Tino Mawoyo believes the return of several batting stalwarts will lift the hosts’ spirits.
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Just a few more sleeps before the two sides lock horns in three T20Is at Harare Sports Club! #OsakaBatteries | #ServisTyresCup2021 |#ZIMvPAK | #VisitZimbabwe | #BowlOutCovid19 @TheRealPCBMedia pic.twitter.com/Xd0yMxlkzo
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The home team suffered four heavy losses to Afghanistan across two formats in Abu Dhabi last month, Zimbabwe is expected to bring in the changes when they lock horns with Pakistan on Wednesday in the first of three Twenty20 matches at Harare Sports Club.
Two test matches are set to follow at the same venue. Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine are supposed to return to the batting line-up, boosting the confidence and providing support to the all-rounder Sean Williams.
“I think it’ll definitely bring the stability that we lacked, the experience, and I think it’ll just lift the spirit of the lads as well,” Mawoyo told Reuters.
An uphill task awaits the hosts if they are to threaten Babar Azam led Team Pakistan blooming with confidence after crushing South Africa at home and away.
“(Zimbabwe) will have to be almost flawless in all three departments… they cannot afford to lapse at all and allow Pakistan to take control,” said Mawoyo, who played stupendously for 163 against the Asian side in a 2011 test.
“(Pakistan) will come hard at you, and they’ll come hard at you early… however, if they don’t get early wickets and stuff doesn’t quite go their way, they do tend to flatten out a little bit.” he was quoted saying.
One example of that came in 2013 when Mawoyo and his teammates managed a red-ball upset against Pakistan.
“I know it’s a very long time ago, but the last time Zimbabwe took on Pakistan in a test match in Harare, they won,” he said.
But all is not well at the home grounds as undermining the return of international cricket to Zimbabwean grounds after a pandemic-induced 15-month hiatus is a corruption scandal involving former head coach Heath Streak.
Streak, who is under an eight-year ban, has admitted to five breaches of the International Cricket Council anti-corruption code, including the disclosure of insider information for betting purposes and accepting a corrupt payment.
“(It is) not ideal to have such news going into such a big series, however, the lads are professional. Some of them I know have personal relationships with him (Streak), but I think they just need to focus on the job at hand,” Mawoyo said.
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“The boys are professional enough to know what they need to be focusing on.”