By Austin Karonga
Zimbabwe host Afghanistan in five One Day Internationals (ODIs) beginning tomorrow at Harare Sports Club hoping to avenge for past defeats at the hands of the Associate country.
The locals have been embarrassed by the Afghanistan both at home and on neutral venues over the years.
Only a series win will help boost the team’s waning fortunes that have seen them being the whipping boys of not only Test-playing nations but Associate sides as well.
Zimbabwe’s freefall and literal submission to Afghanistan started at home in October 2015 when they succumbed to a 2-3 ODI series defeat with the visitors becoming the first Associate side to beat a Full Member nation in a multi-game ODI series.
Afghanistan also wrapped up the Twenty20 series 2-0 while the visit had started on a positive note for them with their Afghanistan XI winning both one day warm-up matches in Bulawayo.
They followed that up with identical series’ wins over Zimbabwe at Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates winning the ODI series 3-2 and the T20 version 2-0.
As if that was not enough, Afghanistan sent Zimbabwe packing out of the ICC World T20 in India as they made it to the Super 10 stage at the expense of the locals.
A lot is at stake during this series. While the players will be battling it out on the field of play, there will also legal battle taking place on the sidelines.
Afghanistan head coach Phil Simmons will also revisit his labour case against Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), who he is suing for $320 000 for unfair dismissal 12 years after he was sacked.
Simmons met with his lawyer Jonathan Samkange yesterday in order to plan their next step.
But it is the action of the field of play Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer is more concerned about.
“Preparations have been good, been tough to get as much done as we want with all the rain around, but guys have played a few domestic games which was great and we have made good use of our facilities when they have been available,” Cremer told the Daily News yesterday.
“It’s about both really (revenge and game time) we know we have not played our best cricket against them in the past so we are ready for the fight and a series win.”
The team also received a boost with the return of Australia based all-rounder Solomon Mire.
“The return of Mire is great for us, we know what he is capable of and we need a seaming all-rounder,” Cremer said.
“The team has a few new young guys but all very hungry to do well. I think we have great mix of youth and experience and I’m excited about the squad that we have.”
Squad: Graeme Cremer (capt), Peter Joseph Moor (wk), Ryan Burl, Tarisai Musakanda, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara, Christopher Mpofu, Nathan Waller, Craig Ervine, Solomon Mire. Daily News