Chevrons all-rounder, Elton Chigumbura, says coach Lalchand Rajput, who failed to travel with the team, remains part of the plans ahead of the upcoming limited-overs series.
Rajput was withdrawn from the touring party at the 11th hour following a request from the Indian Embassy in Harare.
Former Zimbabwe fast bowler, Douglas Hondo, is holding fort for the series, which comprise three One Day Internationals and as many T20 Internationals.
“Obviously, the coach didn’t travel with us but he was part of the team during the training,” Chigumbura said.
“But, looking at his assistants taking over, nothing has changed.
“It’s still the same system, and the same values that we have in the team.
“We just take it the same way we have been conducting business during Covid-19 (lockdown) via virtual meetings but I am sure he will be part of the strategy and the planning even when he is back at home.
“Everyone is still positive, we all still have the same vibe. We are happy that we are back to playing international cricket so we are looking forward to this series.” Chigumbura was speaking to reporters via a virtual conference yesterday. The Zimbabwe squad and officials arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday.
The visitors had their first training session yesterday after the entire squad of 32, including support staffers, returned negative results in Covid-19 tests they were subjected to on arrival.
They will observe the mandatory seven-day quarantine and will hold closed door training sessions at the Army Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi. “It’s good to be back in Pakistan and we are looking forward to the games,” said Chigumbura.
“Obviously, the last time we came, five years ago, everyone was a bit scared but I think the way we were hosted last time, we have confidence this time that we will still be in safe hands.
“So far, everyone is comfortable and, after our first training session, we are looking forward to the matches,” said Chigumbura.
The first of the three ODI matches will be played on October 30, with the other two pencilled in for November 1 and 3.
The ODIs are part of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League and will all be played in Rawalpindi. Lahore will host the three-match Twenty20 international series that will immediately follow on November 7, 8 and 10.
Chigumbura said Zimbabwe, who hit rock bottom in the last two years when they also failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time, needed to start winning matches.
“We have spoken about these things. We felt the impact of not qualifying for the World Cup. Our aim is to qualify (directly) to the World Cup. We are going to play cricket to win.
“We are going to be positive, that’s what the captain (Chamu Chibhabha) wants; he is a positive captain.
“The other good thing is that we have a number of players who have played a number of international cricket.
“So, having that mixture with young players and, given what the coach and captain wants, it’s going to be more on the positive side than before. Everyone is eager to go especially after being out of cricket for seven months,” said Chigumbura.
The 34-year old had a good outing as captain the last time Zimbabwe toured Pakistan in 2015 when he scored his highest ODI score of 117 runs from 95 balls.
But his form took a dip afterwards and there has been a huge debate whether he was still good enough for the national team.
“I had a couple of injuries that put me away for quite some time. So, it was down to my injuries that got me a year or so not playing international cricket.
“The time when I came back I got another injury which I had to go and get a surgery done.
“Right now I am looking forward to this series and hopefully get back to where I was.
“There are good wickets to bat on in Pakistan. Hopefully I can carry on from last time when I was in Pakistan,” he said.
Zimbabwe Squad for Pakistan Tour:
Chamu Chibhabha (captain), Faraz Akram, Ryan Burl, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Carl Mumba, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Sean Williams