Zim starlets receive pep talk from Indian skipper Rohit Sharma

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Zimbabwe Under-19 team players pose for a picture with the Indian cricket team captain Rohit Sharma in Mumbai on Thursday

Zimbabwe’s young cricketers are getting accustomed to the playing conditions in the subcontinent, thanks to a partnership between Zimbabwe Cricket and the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).

The young cricketers, who are preparing for the 2024 Under-19 T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka are on a lengthy cricket tour of India which began on November 21.

Former Indian cricketer and coach Lalchand Rajput, who is the technical director of Zimbabwe Cricket, organised the visit of the young Zimbabwean cricketers to his hometown of Mumbai.

Zimbabwe hope that the tour will go a long way in educating the young cricketers about the challenges of playing in the subcontinent.

“They’re loving it. It has been a very gratifying experience for the boys. They have played about six one-day and three T20 games and it has been a good educational trip, we wanted them to be exposed to these conditions… how to bat, how to bowl and how to stay at the wicket,” Lalchand Rajput said to Cricbuzz.

Zimbabwe Under-19 coach Prosper Utseya and ZC technical director Lalchand Rajput

Former Zimbabwe cricketer Prosper Utseya, who is in charge of the youngsters, stated that the aim was to test the cricketers in challenging Indian conditions.

The tour has not only been about cricket skills, but also about getting the players accustomed to the food and weather of the subcontinent.

He wishes to lay a good foundation for the future generation of cricketers who can compete at the highest level for Zimbabwe.

“It’s food, humidity, weather, and intensity in cricket. We want them to get tested – all-around learning – that is the idea. We want them to know how to bat and bowl for long periods of time. If we can have a good foundation and ultimately produce a very competitive national side, the task will be successful,” Prosper Utseya said.

During their visit to India, the Zimbabwean cricketers were star-struck by a special guest when Indian skipper Rohit Sharma graced their dressing room at the BKC ground following a match on Thursday, December 15.

“I asked him if he could have a chat with the boys in the change room. He agreed and was very happy to do that. It was very good of Rohit to take time out of his busy and precious schedule and share his experience and knowledge. He is an inspiration for the boys. The young generation, they grow up watching him,” Utseya added.

Among other members of the Zimbabwe contingent are Chris Mpofu (bowling coach) and Eric Chauluka (batting coach).

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is happy it could be of help to the ZC players. “They wanted a few games with Mumbai teams and we’ve agreed. We’re here to do anything that can build the image of Mumbai cricket,” says Ajinkya Naik, the secretary of MCA.

The Zimbabwean boys are in Mumbai since November 21 and will leave for home in a few days even as their Under 19 girls’ team has also arrived in the city to prepare for next month’s World Cup in South Africa.

The Zimbabweans seem to have fallen in love with the heat, dust, noise and the cricketing flavour of Mumbai.

 

 

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