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Bangla tour: Final test before the Test

ZIMBABWE this weekend embarks on a challenging tour to Bangladesh ahead of their return to Test cricket next year.

The resumption of Tests for Zimbabwe will be marked by a collision with Bangladesh at home in May.
The current tour to Asia has been described as an acid test for Zimbabwe where their resurgence will be under close scrutiny in a year they posted some of their best results in a difficult six year period.
The two nations will square up for five One-Day-Internationals (ODIs), but will both play with one eye on the two Test series next year.
After beating India twice in a triangular series this year, Zimbabwe showed signs of recovery as they also went down fighting in a 3-0 series defeat to South Africa, but it is time they won a series to show that they deserve some respect.
They face up against a strong Bangladesh side buoyed by a historical series victory over New Zealand recently.
Form favours the Asians but Zimbabwe have this year been reinvented and reinvigorated that the series will attract measurable zest among the fans, even with so much attention on the Ashes.
In recent years, Bangladesh have bossed meetings between the two as evidenced by the two 4-1 victories in their last two series, while Zimbabwe’s last series success against their opponents was in 2006.
It’s a year now since the two last played against each other and a lot has happened.
There is renewed confidence in the Zimbabwe side that has seen lots of investment into the building of a potent national team.
Zimbabwe has already seen the return of Grant Flower to the side taking up the role of batting coach, while a host of other international and former stars have graced the domestic league.
There was an attempt to restore the golden oldie, Flower, into the team but the experiment failed in South Africa.
Zimbabwe will be looking up to the batting trio of Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza and Tatenda Taibu, who have been the most consistent of late.Ryan Butterworth will make his debut for Zimbabwe.
There is no place in the squad for Charles Coventry, who made a remarkable 194 not out in Bulawayo against the same opponents last year.
Since that score, the batsman has found himself slipping down the order and now out of the squad despite a good account in the recent domestic T-20 series.
Masakadza and Taylor will have to click at the top of the batting order while Raymond Price and Prosper Utseya will have to be in good knick with the ball if Zimbabwe is to claim something from this tour.
Captain Elton Chigumbura has been useful with the bat but his contribution has not been necessarily substantial. He will have to show the potential he has promised for long.
Zimbabwe will have to rely on their spin attack led by left arm bowler Price who has been the most consistent for Zimbabwe with the ball.
Graeme Cremer’s trickery will also be handy while Keegan Meth will be seeking a good performance with the ball in his hand.
The team left Harare yesterday for Bangladesh where they will play the first ODI on Wednesday after a warm up game on Monday.


Kevin Mapasure

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