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Rajput points at injuries

By Kevin Mapasure

ZIMBABWE national cricket team coach Lalchand Rajput has blamed the absence of key players following the team’s poor display which saw them suffer two innings defeats in as many Test matches against Pakistan.

The last match ended on yesterday, with Zimbabwe surrendering to an innings 147-run defeat.

This was after Pakistan had made 510 for 8 declared before bundling Zimbabwe out for 131 and 231.

Pakistan wrapped up the innings and the match in the morning with Zimbabwe having resumed on an overnight score of 220 for 9.

Batting stalwats Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza and captain Sean Williams all missed the series owing to injuries.

In their absence, Zimbabwe relied on less experienced players who struggled against a good Pakistan bowling line up.

Reacting to the series defeat, Rajput noted that the poor display with the bat was mainly due to lack of experience in the line up.

He is, however, optimistic that the younger players who featured against Pakistan would get better with more time in the middle.

“Pakistan are one of the best teams in the world at the moment and playing against them we needed to have our best players,” Rajput said.

“We missed our senior guys, Raza, Craig and Sean and we had a young side. I feel there is a lot of work to be done. Work is in progress, we have thrown these young guys into the big league and we have to wait for them to flourish. It’s a good thing that they are playing at that level.”

He said he was pleased with the shift put in by the bowlers.

“If you look at the bowling, we did well, but on batting, we need to pull up our socks and be stronger mentally. In Test cricket, you have to be mentally strong, it tests your character, your patience and shot selection. So these are areas we have to work on. If you look at our batting, we faltered because we never made any partnerships. Shot selection was poor, but if you look from the first Test to the second, there was an
improvement.”

He saw a lot of positives especially with the ball.

“Luke Jongwe was a positive, Blessing Muzarabani was as usual our frontline bowler and he was another positive. Roy Kaia was also a positive.”

Rajput was particularly pleased with Regis Chakabva, who was promoted from his usual number seven position to bat at three.

“I am happy with Chakabva, he took the challenge to bat at number three. We needed someone senior at number three to bat through and he took the challenge. It’s not easy to keep for one and half days and then come back to bat so high in the order. I am happy with what he did, it’s just unfortunate he didn’t get 100.”

Chakabva followed up on his first innings score of 33 to hit 80 in the second.

Stand-in skipper Brendan Taylor made 49 as Zimbabwe tried to give a better fight in the second innings of the second Test.

Zimbabwe next face Bangladesh in both the red and white ball formats and Rajput is confident of an improved show.

“I am sure we will be a lot stronger in the next series against Bangladesh. Bangladesh will be important because we will be playing in the Super League for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers. So it will be important for us to do well in the one-day matches because our target is to qualify for the World Cup,” he said.

Zimbabwe will be hoping for the return of Williams and Ervine, but Raza remains a doubt following his arm surgery last week.

  • Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMapasure

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