Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE cricket team coach Heath Streak says he has a comprehensive game plan in place to deal with Afghanistan as the Chevrons seek to put the Associate member in their right place when they clash in a five-match One Day International series that begins at the Harare Sports Club this morning.
Whether home or away, Zimbabwe have played second fiddle to their rivals who have won two of the three ODI series between them since 2014, when they first squared up in a drawn series at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
“I think one of the things that we have tried to do is to have very clear plans. We know the conditions, we know the players, we have done a lot of analysis and we have got some very clear plans that hopefully we can put in place,” Streak told the media yesterday.
“And if we can execute our skills, that’s the most important thing, and stick to our plans, I think we will give ourselves a very good chance of success in this series.
“And I use the motto that ‘if you fail to plan you plan to fail’ so I think we planned very well for this series and it’s up to the players to go and execute their skills out in the middle.”
Zimbabwe and Afghanistan are meeting in a series for the fourth time in three years.
“The last two series, we lost, so we are targeting to try and win this series since we are playing at home and I believe we can do it,” said Streak.
“That’s what we have been preparing to do and that is our expectation.
“I think it’s always good to try and start with a win. It obviously sets a precedent going forward and if you can get that early win then you can get that confidence and you know the Afghans are a big confidence team.
“So we will be targeting to get started with an early victory . . . I think the guys that we have picked are very energetic and very confident by nature.”
Zimbabwe will be looking for inspiration from senior players like Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza, Christopher Mpofu, Malcom Waller and skipper Graeme Cremer.
There has also been a big boost with the return of all-rounder Solomon Mire. But the Chevrons will miss some of the regulars like Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha and Sean Williams, who failed fitness tests.
Afghanistan coach, Lalchand Rajput, said the Asians want to extend their dominance over Zimbabwe.
“We have to try and win each and every game that we play and that’s the consistency that we want. Afghanistan, as you know, are a very good team but then they would play good cricket on one day and differently on the second,” he said.
“But now we have made it a habit to play good cricket consistently and the more matches you play the better you become, the more mature you become.”
Graeme Cremer (capt), PJ Moor (wkt), Ryan Burl, Tarisai Musakanda, Sikandar Raza, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara, Christopher Mpofu, Nathan Waller, Craig Ervine, Solomon Mire, Carl Mumba, Richard Ngarava
Asghar Stanikzai(C), Shahzad Mohammadi(wkt), Noor Ali Zadran, Ehsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah Zurmati, Hashmatullah Shaheedi, Samiullah Shinwari, Najeebullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi Essakhail, Rashid Arman, Gulbuddin Naib, Kareem Janant, Dawlat Zadran, Farid Ahmad Malik and Aftab Alam.