All eyes on Zimbabwe in the Caribbean

ZIMBABWE’s cricket team is in the West Indies and played the first of five ODIs yesterday after the Twenty20 international which they won.

This is a watershed tour for the side.
With positive changes having been witnessed on the domestic front with a revamped domestic structure that has attracted overseas professionals, the national side’s performance ought to mirror the development at home under the cricketing world’s watchful eye.
Last week, Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka said it was “very realistic” for Zimbabwe to return to Test cricket within 18 months following the appointment of a new coaching team headed by former England player Alan Butcher.
But the national side has to start proving itself now.  But who will do the job in the Caribbean?
Hamilton Masakadza has once again shown consistent form in the domestic setup, scoring runs for fun, and hopefully the same form can be replicated when it matters most at the grand stage.
West Indies are no pushovers, and they are battle-hardened from their series with Australia down under. They also have the advantage of playing in front of their passionate home fans.
Captain Chris Gayle will once again be a fortress upfront with his devastating clean striking of the ball. If he fires, as he so often does, he will take the game away from the opposition. He should fancy himself against the Zimbabwe attack thin on a genuine pace and accuracy.
Kemar Roach will be let loose on the Zimbabwean batsmen, who are unaccustomed to facing average speeds of 140 km/h. During the tour down under, Roach demonstrated the ability to be aggressive, as Pointing would testify, and has now become a key member of the West Indies line up. Kieron Pollard’s amazing ability to clear the ropes with relative ease should also be a concern for Zimbabwe.
All things considered, Zimbabwe should not grant their hosts too much respect and it is up to the selectors to pick a balanced side based on merit.

Prosper Tsvanhu is a Zimbabwean first-class cricketer studying Media at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.