Zimbabwe’s thrashing of Bangladesh has forced the Pakistan Cricket Board to stand up and take note of the opponents that, just a few weeks ago, were far from a threat for Pakistan’s upcoming tour.
However, the hosts’ win in their comeback Test against Bangladesh as well as the One-Day International (ODI) series-win has surprised the former world champions who are now not showing any signs of complacency in their preparation.
Zimbabwe’s performance has turned Pakistan’s conditioning camp at the Gaddafi Stadium into an extensive training camp for the tour that includes one Test, three ODIs and two Twenty20s.
“We’re not taking Zimbabwe lightly,” Pakistan team manager Naveed Akram Cheema told The Express Tribune. “In fact, we’re not considering them less than opponents like India or Australia. We are not leaving any stone unturned in the training camp and we want the team to be well prepared.
“Zimbabwe are on top of their game. They are playing with team spirit which is clearly seen in their performance. They’ve proved that with their performance, they will give us a tough fight.”
Video analysis of Zimbabwe’s performance
Cheema added that apart from training and gym sessions, the players were also shown videos of the recent Zimbabwe-Bangladesh matches.
“We’ve arranged videos of Zimbabwe’s performance in the Test and ODI series. Our players are viewing those performances closely and the purpose is to mark the strengths and weaknesses and prepare a strategy accordingly.
“It’d also give an idea to the players who are playing Zimbabwe for the first time.”
With the preparations, the manager hoped that Pakistan will do well against the home side ahead of crucial series against Sri Lanka and England.
“We are hopeful that the team will do well but we want to go in having done our homework,” said Cheema before adding that lectures on disciplinary directions were also in full swing during the camp.
Pakistan will depart for Zimbabwe on August 25 and will launch the tour three days later with a two-day warm-up game against Zimbabwe XI in Bulawayo. The one-off Test starts from September 1 at the same venue.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2011.