Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
HARD-WORK, team work, consistency, discipline and high fitness levels are some of the clichés that have characterised new Zimbabwe cricket team coach Lalchand Rajput’s early days in office and now the former India international is expected to come face to face with reality as he leads the Chevrons tomorrow on a trip of reckoning against South Africa.
The neighbours will face off in three one-day international matches starting this Sunday. The ODI series will run until October 6 to be followed by a three-match T20I series from October 9-14.
This will be Rajput’s first major assignment ever since he was appointed on full time basis to lead the Chevrons on a revival mission. After South Africa, the team is expected to proceed to Bangladesh for three ODIs and two Tests that run into November.
And the Indian mentor, who arrived in Zimbabwe a few months back initially to lead the national team in the T20I Triangular Series involving Pakistan and Australia, has since been confirmed as the new head coach. But will he be able to turn around Zimbabwe’’s fortunes, the same way he did with Afghanistan in his previous job?
The former Indian international has been bracing for his first real challenge – against the Proteas. The team has been in camp for the last six weeks and will wind up their preparations today ahead of a tough test.
The Chevrons will have their last training session today before they embark on a busy schedule that will see them tour South Africa and then Bangladesh.
The team leaves for South Africa tomorrow. “As I said, I like challenges. South Africa and Bangladesh are among the toughest tours. But I think tough tours make you and the players even tougher. So with my experience I will make the players tough and to perform better in tough conditions.
‘‘That is the biggest challenge and I think we can make a difference in that. I am very excited to get on the road with this team,” he said.
South Africa have often dominated meetings between the two Southern African countries on different for a, with the distinction in class unmistakable.
The last time Zimbabwe toured South Africa they lost the ODI series 0-3 in 2014. South Africa have also bullied their neighbours in the shorter version of the game although they have had fewer meetings.
Zimbabwe ODI Squad:
Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta, Richard Ngarava, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wellington Masakadza, Ryan Murray, Tendai Chatara
Zimbabwe T20I Squad:
Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Solomon Mire, Neville Madziva, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta, Christopher Mpofu, Chamu Chibhabha, Wellington Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Tendai Chatara
South Africa ODI squad:
Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Khaya Zondo
South Africa T20I squad:
Faf du Plessis (c), Gihahn Cloete, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Robbie Frylinck, Imran Tahir, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Lungisani Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen