24 March 2018
US to ED: ignore reforms, sanctions stay
MPs summon Mugabe over missing $15bn
Freed activist: God knows I didn’t kill the cop
No reforms no poll: Chamisa tells EU crew
Mujuru vows Dzamara search if elected
Boy eyes political office, contests law
GM foods safer than conventional: Expert
'Stubborn' Khupe, Gutu fired from the MDC-T
Plenty investors in Zim, hotels flooded: ED
Chamisa hails African Free Trade Area
Deported anti-Bob SA band back at Hifa
Grace house arrest play rocks Masvingo
Gayle plans to dance with Zimbabwe fans
Cricket: UAE shatter Zim WCup dreams
Follow Honourable Eddie Cross's example
Mugabe spoke for the marginalised, but
2018: of humour, fair analysis, healthy race
ZimDiaspora: Bum cleaners, runaway fathers?
South Africa not taking Zimbabwe for granted

We are here to play our best brand of cricket ... South Africa captain Hashim Amla

08/08/2014 00:00:00
by Agencies
Zim stun Australia, end 31-yr wait
Utseya hat-trick in vain as Zim lose
Panyangara: coach explains sacking
Panyangara sacked for indiscipline
Australia thrash Zimbabwe by 198 runs
Utseya reported for 'suspect' bowling
Zimbabwe lose to SA by seven wickets
Zim not a ‘token’ tour, Australia
South Africa beat Zim by 61 runs
Chigumbura quells injury fears
Australia says ready for Zimbabwe tour
South Africa thrash Zim in first ODI
Mangongo happy with impressive loss
Taylor hopes SA show brings more Test
SA cruise to win over Zimbabwe
Nyumbu the 5-wicket hero for Zimbabwe
Taylor proud as Zim challenge South Africa
Cricketer recalled 6 yrs after torching HQ

GIVEN Zimbabwe's lowly ranking and the myriad problems infecting its cricket, South Africa could have been forgiven for resting key players in the one-off Test but have instead stuck with the 15-man squad that recently clinched a series victory in Sri Lanka.

That means a Zimbabwe side, who have not played a Test in almost a year, are set to come up against the best and most feared bowler in the world in Dale Steyn as well as top-ranked batsman AB de Villiers and top-ranked all-rounder Vernon Philander.

"Whether you're playing Australia or Zimbabwe, the pressure is always there. We are here to play our best brand of cricket," South Africa captain Hashim Amla promised on arrival in Harare.

"My firm belief is that you don't take anything for granted. I've come here to play Test cricket as intensely as we played even in Sri Lanka,” he added.

The expectation, therefore, is that the Proteas will inflict a similar defeat to the ones Zimbabwe suffered back in 2005 - the last time that the sides encountered each other in Test cricket.

Not only did Zimbabwe lose both Tests by an innings but the first match ended inside two days and the second lasted just three.

Tough test ... Zimbabwe coach Stephen Mangongo and captain Brendan Taylor

Hamilton Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura and Brendan Taylor are the three current Zimbabwe players who will have some harsh memories from that match while AB de Villiers is the only South African to have spanned the nine-year gap.

This clash finds the hosts at particularly low ebb following their one-day series draw at home to Afghanistan last month but captain Taylor insists they are excited by the challenge.

"It's really special to have the best side in the world coming to play you on your home turf," Taylor said.

"There's no better opportunity to gauge yourself as a cricketer than against the best side in the world. That's an opportunity we are all relishing,” he added.

While South Africa's XI is largely settled, with only minor question marks over the places of opening batsman Alviro Petersen and spinner Imran Tahir, the composition of Zimbabwe's side is up in the air.


The selectors have named a mammoth 25-man training squad for both the Test and the three-match ODI series that follows, and only four or five players will be confident about getting the nod for Saturday morning.

One batsman with a good chance of playing is Mark Vermeulen, who infamously burned down Zimbabwe's cricket academy back in 2006.

The 35-year-old subsequently faced arson charges but was acquitted by a court on psychiatric grounds, and as the in-form batsman in Zimbabwe's squad he could make a memorable return to Test cricket after an absence of more than a decade.

Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it






Face Book



comments powered by Disqus
RSS NewsTicker