Cricket

Zimbabwe tri-series: World No 1 ranking up for grabs between Pakistan, Australia; inexperienced hosts face massive challenge

  • Agence France-Presse
  • June 30th, 2018
  • 13:32:26 IST

Harare: Australia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe meet in a T20 tri-series starting in Harare on Sunday, with the world number one ranking on the line in the sport's shortest format.

Pakistan travel to Zimbabwe as the world's top-rated team, but if the Australians are able to put their torrid tour of England behind them, they could claim that status for themselves.

Pakistan selectors earlier named a full-strength squad for the Zimbabwe tour, avoiding resting Mohammad Amir. AFP

Pakistan selectors earlier named a full-strength squad for the Zimbabwe tour, avoiding resting Mohammad Amir. AFP

Australia are in dire need of a confidence booster after enduring a 6-0 drubbing across limited overs formats on their tour of England, and ahead of their arrival in Zimbabwe, coach Justin Langer insisted "there's light at the end of the tunnel."

Australia slipped down to third in the ICC's T20 rankings after their defeat to England but could come out of the Zimbabwe tri-series with the top ranking if they are able to reverse their losing streak.

The challenge is a stiff one, however, as Australia are currently missing six key limited-overs players, with Steve Smith and David Warner currently serving bans while Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitch Marsh all recovering from injuries.

They will be up against a Pakistan side brimming with confidence after having lost only one of their eight T20 internationals this year.

Looking to extend their success, Pakistan named a full strength squad for their trip to Zimbabwe.

They decided not to rest fast bowler Mohammad Amir for this tour, while the contributions of 19-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan will also be crucial in conditions expected to favour spin.

The experienced Mohammad Hafeez will likely return to their top order after his bowling action was cleared as legal last month.

"Hafeez warranted a place after clearing his action," said Pakistan selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Uncapped opener Sahibzada Farhan was also included "after showing good form in domestic matches," said Inzamam. Pakistan will also bank on the experience of captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who has toured Zimbabwe twice before.

Hosts Zimbabwe have had their own side shorn of valuable experience due to a pay dispute between Zimbabwe Cricket and several senior players.

There will be a new look to their team when they take on Pakistan in tomorrow's opener, with young batsman Tarisai Musakanda tipped to be named as new captain.

The Zimbabweans will also be distracted by the potential outcomes of the ongoing ICC conference, where their cricket board's massive debts are being discussed.

The signs are that this could be a difficult first outing for new coach Lalchand Rajput.

"To be very honest, I just look at the players who are available and the best 15 or 17 which we have picked," he said.

"So my job is to get the 17 who are available and prepare them for the tri-series. I am not interested in who is available or not available. My job is for the people who are available and I want to prepare them well for the tri-series."

The three teams will play each other twice, with a rest day on Saturday before the top two sides meet in next Sunday's final.

Updated Date: June 30, 2018 13:32:26 IST

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Azhar Ali dismisses talk of losing Pakistan Test captaincy, says he'll comment only after official word from PCB
First Cricket News

Azhar Ali dismisses talk of losing Pakistan Test captaincy, says he'll comment only after official word from PCB

The veteran of 81 Tests was appointed Test captain last year in October and in May the PCB confirmed him as captain for the 2020/21 international season for Test matches.

Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura downplays coach Lalchand Rajput's absence on tour, says visitors are 'here to win'
First Cricket News

Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura downplays coach Lalchand Rajput's absence on tour, says visitors are 'here to win'

The Zimbabwe cricket board withdrew Lalchand Rajput from the touring party after a request from the Indian Embassy in Harare and bowling coach Douglas Hondo will be the head coach for the tour.

Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: Chamu Chibhabha says team well prepared to take on hosts despite lack of international cricket
First Cricket News

Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: Chamu Chibhabha says team well prepared to take on hosts despite lack of international cricket

While Pakistan played a long series in England recently, Zimbabwe resume their international commitments after a long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.