New head coach Lalchand Rajput is looking forward to the returning Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams potentially having a positive impact during Zimbabwe’s three-ODI series against the Proteas, which will get underway later this week.
Taylor, Ervine and Williams voluntarily missed July’s T20I tri-series against Pakistan and Australia. They, too, forewent the following five ODIs against Pakistan.
Duo Solomon Mire and Kyle Jarvis have also returned, after recovering from injury, while leg-spinner Graeme Cremer has been sidelined to fully recover from knee surgery.
‘South Africa is always a big challenge, but a challenge always gets the best out of me and the players. The series we played when I took over was not good for us, but it was never going to be easy to face Australia and Pakistan in the T20I triangular series and then Pakistan in the ODI series when we were missing seven to eight players,’ said Rajput.
‘But now that the players are back, it looks a balanced team – a team that wants to do well. Apart from Cremer, most of our senior players are back and, when experience and youth combine, we can get the best out of the team.’
Former India batsman Rajput succeeded former head coach Heath Streak on a full-time basis earlier this year, after serving in an interim capacity for the matches against the Australians and Pakistanis. Streak was fired after Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
‘We have had a very good preparatory camp for two months and when you prepare well, normally results will be on your side. South Africa have to be aware that this is not the Zimbabwe team of the past. This is a team that is going to give them a good run for their money,’ he added.
‘We have come to show the world that we are a competitive team and every game is important. We are here to show we can play aggressive cricket and we are here to win.’
Kimberley, Bloemfontein and Paarl will host the three ODIs. Three T20Is will follow.