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Zimbabwe hope for a comeback

The only time Zimbabwe have succeeded in batting out their full quota of overs and bowling the opposition out in the World Cup has been against Canada, a non-Test member side.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2011 23:42 IST
Amol Karhadkar

The only time Zimbabwe have succeeded in batting out their full quota of overs and bowling the opposition out in the World Cup has been against Canada, a non-Test member side.

When it comes to facing major teams, including their struggle with the bat against Pakistan on Monday, the Africans who withdrew from Test cricket after an exodus of top players in 2006, have hardly impressed.

With the bat, Zimbabwe have managed to score just 672 runs off 171.2 overs in their face-offs against Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. More than the miserable average of 18.16 runs per wicket, what stands out is their inability to bat out their quota of overs on a single occasion.

Ditto is the case with the ball, except against Canada. Each of the 12 wickets they have managed has cost them around 63 runs, and the bowlers went wicketless for almost 78 overs, including their ties against New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Still, coach Alan Butcher feels his team, which last featured in a Test in September 2005, is on a comeback that will be marked with a one-off Test against Bangladesh in July or August.

Despite their mediocre form, Butcher felt a four-day first-class competition and return of some of the seniors will help ease themselves back into top-flight cricket.

"No team is ever ready to play Test cricket as such," Butcher, who has been in charge of the team for a year, said. "When Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were given the Test status, were they ready? But they learnt with time and exposure. Same is the case with our young bunch. The more they will play against better oppositions the better they will get."