Houghton oozes confidence as Zimbabwe eye perfect campaign
Zimbabwe have set their sights on a perfect ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B 2022 campaign, with Head Coach Dave Houghton saying his charges have what it takes to win the 11-17 July tournament in Bulawayo.
The hosts will face Singapore in the opening match of the eight-team showpiece at Queens Sports Club on Monday.
Zimbabwe will then play Jersey and the United States of America on Tuesday and Thursday respectively at the same venue to complete their Group A fixtures.
Group B features the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Uganda.
The teams that make it into the final will clinch the two remaining spots at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 to be staged in Australia later this year.
Houghton is backing his charges to not only qualify but also win the tournament.
“In terms of where we are looking to be as a team, we are talking nothing short of winning the tournament – as simple as that,” the Head Coach said.
“Qualifying will be an extra bonus but we are actually looking to win the tournament,” he added.
After camping in Bulawayo for a fortnight ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B 2022, Houghton believes his players have had great preparations for the tournament.
“I’m very happy. I can’t thank the ground staff here in Bulawayo enough for the facilities we have had here at Queens for two weeks,” he said.
“We have had lots of centre-wicket practice and net practice. I couldn’t have asked for more.
“The guys are ready. From what I see, the guys have really responded pretty well.
“The language they are using now is about positivity, it’s about freedom of expression and . . . we are having the guys hit the ball properly using all their skills.
“Their skills have been wrapped up for a couple of years and hopefully we are going to release them now and we should see a nice, positive, exciting brand of cricket starting on Monday.”
Zimbabwe received a timely boost ahead of the tournament, with Sean Williams, Wellington Masakadza and Richard Ngarava returning to action.
Williams missed the last two home series against Namibia and Afghanistan after Zimbabwe Cricket granted him compassionate leave to attend to personal and private matters.
Ngarava and Masakadza were also ruled out of those series as they were recovering from lower back and right shoulder injuries respectively.
The three players are now all back and they are part of Zimbabwe’s 14-man squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup B 2022.
Captained by Craig Ervine, the side also includes other seasoned campaigners in Tendai Chatara, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva and Blessing Muzarabani.
ZIMBABWE SQUAD FOR ICC MEN’S T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER B 2022:
Burl Ryan, Chakabva Regis, Chatara Tendai, Ervine Craig (captain), Jongwe Luke, Kaia Innocent, Madhevere Wessly, Marumani Tadiwanashe, Masakadza Wellington, Muzarabani Blessing, Ngarava Richard, Raza Sikandar, Shumba Milton, Williams Sean