Zimbabwe, Canada eye Test status

Zimbabwe players congratulate teammate Prosper Utseya (2nd L) after he dismissed Australian batsman Brad Haddin

Nagpur: Feb 28, 2011

Zimbabwe and Canada, whose World Cup ambitions were always modest, are already planning for the future despite having five more matches to play in this marathon event.

The two teams are already facing a virtually impossible task of reaching the quarter-finals with Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand widely expected to progress. Canada, who lost by 210 runs to Sri Lanka, insist they have a bright future in the sport and believe they can even achieve Test status.

“Our plan is to develop the game and by 2015 or so to become a full member. Cricket is growing in Canada in a big way. Lots of South Asians are moving in there,” said Canada coach Pubudu Dassanayake. Zimbabwe are also looking ahead after years of political turmoil. After a five-year self-imposed exile from Tests, they will return to the big time in May with a tour of Bangladesh and hope to host New Zealand and Pakistan later in the year.

Zimbabwe lost their opening match in the World Cup when they slipped to a 91-run defeat to champions Australia in Ahmedabad, but they impressed with their spin bowling, which made up for their batting.

They were found wanting against Australia’s quality pace attack, led by Mitchell Johnson, who finished with 4-19. He was brilliantly backed by fast bowlers Shaun Tait and Brett Lee, who shared three wickets. So Zimbabwe will again rely on spinners to keep the pressure on Canada after an eye-catching show by Ray Price, Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer against a strong Australian batting line-up.

Left-arm spinner Price, off-spinner Utseya and leg-spinner Cremer did not allow the Australian batsmen to dominate, conceding 127 runs in a combined tally of 30 overs. “I think it’s going to be a game of spinners. They have got a couple of good spinners bowling early overs and if we can get through those overs and score at a consistent rate we can do well,” Canada skipper Ashish Bagai said.

“It’s the same with our bowling. If we can get our spinners to fire on the day, hopefully it will work for us. We have a diverse bowling attack and we bowl within ourselves. There is no express pace.”