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'Trying to push some youngsters into the team' - Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput
Zimbabwe News

'Trying to push some youngsters into the team' - Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput

Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput has stressed on providing opportunities to youngsters in the team's squad for the upcoming limited-overs fixtures against Pakistan.

Zimbabwe have named a 20-man squad captained Chamu Chibhabha for the three ODIs and as many T20Is with several rookie players slotting in the line-up.

Rajput, who opted out of the Pakistan tour following an exemption requested on his behalf by the Indian embassy, relished the blend of youth and experience in the squad.

The uncapped duo of Milton Shumba and Faraz Akram along with the likes of Wesley Madhevere, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Richard Ngarava will get the chance to share the dressing room with seasoned veterans such as Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza.

Rajput believes getting the next generation of Zimbabwe players match-ready in the forthcoming assignment will do wonders for the team.

“We are going to try and push some youngsters into the team,” he told Reuters from Harare.

“Hopefully the youth take the opportunity and grab the match experience – how to prepare, how to go about the game.”

Zimbabwe are further boosted by the return of Blessing Muzarabani, who will take charge of the pace bowling unit in the absence of the injured Kyle Jarvis.

However, the visitors face a stiff challenge against Pakistan, having crashed to eight successive defeats across formats in their previous meetings.

Additionally, Zimbabwe will be wary of the subdued atmosphere afforded to the contest owing to the behind-closed-doors nature of the encounters.

While Pakistan have become accustomed to life in a 'bio-secure bubble' given their tour of England in the summer, their African counterparts are experiencing their first stint in the enclosed environment.

A number of players have spoken about the mental burden of spending time in quarantines and being subjected to regular Covid-19 testing. Cognizant of this development amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Rajput asked his players to get used to this new dynamic.

“We’ve got to get used to it. It will make it easier when we play the next team – easier because of the experience," he said.

Zimbabwe's resolve for toppling Pakistan in their backyard after a prolonged gap might be strengthened by a relatively inexperienced Pakistan team without the services of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir.

All six matches will be staged in Rawalpindi over the next two weeks with the first ODI set to be held on October 30.