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‘The long-term vision is…’: Captain Sikandar Raza sees opportunity in Zimbabwe’s T20 World Cup 2024 absence | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Captain Sikandar Raza has expressed Zimbabwe’s intention to reconstruct the team and incorporate fresh talent to ensure their long-term success across all cricket formats.
Brian Bennett, a player who made his debut last year following Zimbabwe’s elimination from the 2024 men’s T20 World Cup, played a crucial role in preventing a 5-0 T20I series whitewash against Bangladesh with his impressive all-around performance.
Zimbabwe will be absent from its fourth ICC tournament since 2019, missing out on the 2024 T20 World Cup. Raza stated, “This is the vision. Because we are not going to the World Cup, we want to rebuild the team. We want to secure our future in all three formats. The senior guys will be there for a bit longer in ODIs and Tests, but in T20s we are trying to build a new team. The long-term vision is for these guys to gain the confidence from T20s to filter into ODIs and Tests.”
He further added, “I can tell those youngsters that we tried our hardest (in the qualifiers) but it wasn’t meant to be. For those coming into the changing room, there’s still the right guidance available. Hopefully, our advice and guidance will help you kids cross that hurdle, and get to the World Cup if you ever have to play the qualifiers.”
The tour of Bangladesh provided valuable insights for the transitioning Zimbabwean team. They experimented with their lineup, resting experienced players like Ryan Burl, Sean Williams, and Craig Ervine at various points to give opportunities to younger players such as Bennett, Jonathan Campbell, and Tadiwanashe Marumani.
Bennett’s versatility was on display as he batted in three different positions throughout the series. Despite initial struggles, his 70-run knock in the sixth game gave Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope. His off-spin also proved effective, dismissing key players like Shakib Al Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Soumya Sarkar, and Towhid Hridoy in crucial moments.
Reflecting on his performance, Bennett said, “I am very pleased with my performance. It is Mother’s Day, so this one will be for my mum. I am grateful it came out today. I am fine batting anywhere in the order. I don’t really have a set position to bat. I can play my normal game during or after the powerplay.”
He also acknowledged the importance of being an all-rounder in modern cricket, stating, “It is much easier as an allrounder these days to get your name out there. I am working on my bowling a bit. Hopefully, it will get better as my career goes on. It is something that I am definitely willing to get better at.”
Raza emphasized Zimbabwe’s focus on the rankings and points system, expressing their desire to qualify directly for future tournaments and avoid the qualifiers. He said, “For some reason, Zimbabwe play great in qualifiers but in the do-or-die match, all of us tend to fall off. We just want to make sure we qualify directly, and we don’t have to play these qualifiers again.”
(Inputs from ANI)

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