By Mehluli Sibanda
Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer is noticing some change in the team’s dressing room ahead of the start of the ICC World Cup Qualifier on Sunday.
The Chevrons did not have a great build-up to the tournament after being humiliated by Afghanistan in a One Day International series on neutral territory in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 4-1.
Cremer yesterday said the Zimbabwean boys were excited about playing at home with new enthusiasm in camp which he said did not exist after they were beaten by Afghanistan.
“We were little down after Sharjah but I can see a change in camp already with guys excited for the Qualifier and playing at home, there is a new buzz in the change room that probably wasn’t there in Sharjah,” he said.
“So, it’s exciting to see and we happy with the squad we have, just a few injury concerns, hopefully, we can field our best eleven come group stage games.
He paid tribute to the fans who have backed them even on days when they do not play well.
“They support us no matter what, especially the Bulawayo fans, they have been really good to us, we just hoping they will stick with us, hopefully, we give them (a lot) to shout (about) over the course of the tournament.”
Zimbabwe will be looking to unleash explosive opener Cephas Zhuwao who was in great form for Zimbabwe A against Kenya A leading to his late call up into the tournament squad.
With the way Cremer spoke, Zhuwao should be tasked with opening the batting, a role he is more familiar with.
Another player Zimbabwe are looking to flourish during the tournament is left arm seamer Brian Vitori who made a return to the international game against Afghanistan after his bowling action was cleared by the ICC.
Meanwhile, Cremer was left a disappointed man after their ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier warm-up match against Ireland was abandoned due to a wet outfield at Queens Sports Club.
The match was called off with no ball having been bowled after umpires Paul Wilson and Gregory Brathwaite deemed the outfield too dangerous for the players.
With the match against Papua New Guinea at Bulawayo Athletic Club tomorrow now their only opportunity to get some game time before the proper tournament starts on Sunday, Cremer said they will play their best eleven.
“We want to take these warm-up games as serious as possible, give all the guys a decent run but we probably look to play our best eleven against PNG, I just hope the weather permits and we get a full game.
“It’s really important that we get a win, hopefully against PNG, and get that confidence into the group stage,” he said. Cremer said Sean Williams would have the screw on his broken finger removed tomorrow and he should be available for the group matches.
Ireland skipper William Porterfield said while he was disappointed with the match being abandoned he felt the right decision was made considering the safety of the players.
Zimbabwe are in Group A where they will play Nepal, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Scotland.
The biggest game for the Chevrons is their clash with Afghanistan at Queens Sports Cub next Tuesday.