As the cricket news suggests, Zimbabwe are set to host India in a three-match ODI series next month. Both teams last played bilateral series in 2016 where India won the ODI series by 3-0 and the T2OI series by 2-1. The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to announce a squad for this tour yet. India will play all three matches at Harare Sports Club within five-day starting on August 18.
Indian white-ball team is traveling to face West Indies in three-match ODI cricket and five-match T20I cricket starting on July 22 and will end on August 7. The Indian team have Asian Cup matches scheduled from August 27, so they will be traveling to Zimbabwe with a team of fringe and youngsters. BCCI has already announced that NCA head VVS Laxman will be a head coach for the Zimbabwe tour.
Zimbabwe, who rank 15th on ICC ODI charts, will be hosting Bangladesh in six-match white-ball series starting from July 30 to August 10. This will give India to measure their opponents and prepare accordingly. But let’s take a look at their current three best players who could surprise India next month.
3. Sikandar Raza
The veteran all-rounder is highest run-scorer for Zimbabwe in ODI cricket, among currently playing batters. He has scored 3231 runs in 114 matches at an average of 34.7 and a strike rate of 83.3. His numbers with bowling are also decent, 63 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 4.88.
The 36-year-old star was crucial in Zimbabwe’s latest 2022 T20 World Cup qualifiers matches. He smashed unbeaten 82 runs against USA and 87 against Singapore to guide Zimbabwe to World Cup in Australia.
2. Tendai Chatara
The 31-year-old right-arm pacer remains the most talented bowler for Zimbabwe for the last few years. He will prove tricky against Indian youngsters as senior batters are likely to miss this tour. Interestingly, his maiden international wicket came against Indian all-rounder Yousuf Pathan at Harare in 2010.
He is the leading wicket-taker in the ODI format for Zimbabwe among current playing bowlers. He has taken 102 wickets in 79 ODI matches at an average of 32.7 and an economy rate of 5.13 so far. He is in great form lately, as he finished World Cup qualifiers by taking three wickets while conceding just 14 runs against Singapore.
1. Blessing Muzarabani
The 25-year-old pacer was named ‘the rising star of Zimbabwe cricket’ by ICC in 2018. He has taken 46 wickets in just 33 ODI matches at an average of 29.9 and an economy rate of 5.14.
Muzarabani took his first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket against Pakistan in November 2020. His bowling partnership with Chatara is likely to trouble Indian batters next month.