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On Wednesday, Zimbabwe all-rounder Elton Chigumbura said the players are here to win instead of just playing against Pakistan.
“Admitted, Pakistan have always been strong opponents at home but we plan to take the battle to the hosts. We know we have an opportunity to give our best and win against Pakistan’s flaws, the former Zimbabwe captain said during an interview via video link.
“Remember, we have beaten Pakistan in the past. I hope we can do it again,” he added.
Hoping that Pakistan’s batting pitches will help its target of getting off to a solid start in an effort to directly qualify for India’s 2023 World Cup, the cricketer said: “This series is very important for us from a different perspective. We lost a good opportunity to qualify for the last World Cup. We are in no mood to take chances for the next World Cup. We want to directly qualify for it.”
“We will start the series as underdogs but we feel we can win it if we play to the best of our abilities. We will take one game at a time. Every game is important for us and Zimbabwe cricket from here to the 2023 World Cup.”
In an effort to play down the absence of head coach Lalchand Rajput from the squad that opted out at the last moment due to the intervention of the Indian government, Chigumbura said: “I think that will make no difference. We can still take his guidance online. He has already told us what to do and what not to do. We will follow his guideline.”
Comparing Pakistan’s current situation with what he saw during his last visit in 2015, he said: “Everyone was scared at that time. The situation is totally different now. We are feeling at ease. The atmosphere for cricket is brilliant here and so is the weather, which is more or less the same as in Zimbabwe.”
Talking about his form, Chigumbura said he was at his finest when he captained Zimbabwe in Pakistan five years ago. “I scored a century and then repeated that feat against India. Injuries then struck me and I missed action for almost a year. When I returned to competitive cricket, I again suffered an injury that required surgery.
“Now I am keenly looking forward to this series to get back into the groove. I have fully recovered from all injuries. I am happy to be back in the squad and want to enjoy every moment,” he said.
The former captain further said that the most important aspect of their preparation for the tour was “acclimatising to conditions”.
“We have had no cricket for the last seven months. Though we have trained, we want to get into our groove well before the start of the series,” Chigumbura added.