Rishabh Pant and Ryan Burl NEW DELHI: It's a no-brainer that Team India will go in as favourites when the KL Rahul-led side takes on Zimbabwe in the 3 ODI series, starting with the first match on August 18 at the Harare Sports Club.
A 3-0 whitewash of the hosts is of course very much on the cards, but Zimbabwe all-rounder Ryan Burl is confident that the World No. 10 ranked ODI team can upset India.
Craig Ervine, Zimbabwe's regular captain, will miss the series due to a hamstring injury. In his absence, Regis Chakabva, who captained Zimbabwe to a 2-1 ODI series triumph recently against Bangladesh, will lead the side again.
With the Zimbabwe vs India series set to kick off on Thursday (August 18), TimesofIndia.com caught up with 28 year old Zimbabwe all-rounder Ryan Burl, who is part of the current squad that will take on the Men in Blue, to talk about the series and more.
Burl, a left arm middle order batter and leg-break bowler, has so far played 3 Tests, 28 ODIs and 47 T20Is for Zimbabwe.
After a series win at home vs Bangladesh, Zimbabwe all set now to play a 3-match ODI series vs India. What are the team's plans?
The team plans are going to be pretty much the same as (those of) the last couple of months. We're going to express ourselves as much as possible. If you're a batter, your plan is to score as many runs as possible as quickly as possible. And if you are a bowler, your plan is to go for as few runs as possible. We will try to keep things as simple as possible.
Zimbabwe last won an ODI series vs India way back in 1996-97 at home, the team's only ODI series win against the Men in Blue. For you and your team, how important is this upcoming series?
It's massively important. First of all, we don't really get a chance to play India often. So, when you do you get these opportunities, you have to kind of put your hand up and make the most of it. And second of all, it's opportunities like this (of playing) one of the best teams in the world, where you can showcase your talent and put yourself out there on the map for bigger and better things to come. It's hugely important for us.
Hello from Harare 👋#TeamIndia | #ZIMvIND https://t.co/Ds9gKppjS1
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1660487510000
On paper, India will go in as favourites to win the series. Can Zimbabwe stop India from registering a clean sweep or does the team have enough weapons in their armoury to stun Team India also you think?
Yes, definitely. I don't see any reason why we can't win. We do have home advantage. We've been playing quite well at home recently. People obviously talk about the likes of Streaky (Heath Streak) and the Flowers (Andy Flower and Grant Flower) and all those guys back then. Now we've got our own legends. We've got Raza (Sikandar Raza), we've got Ervine (Craig Ervine) , we've got Williams (Sean Williams). We've got all these other legends. There's probably something wrong with me if I didn't think that we could win because every time you step on a field or court or whatever competition it is, you're looking to win. So, we're looking (at the series) very positively and hopefully, we can do something special.
Is there an Indian player in the current squad who inspires you? When you meet him, what will you ask him?
To be honest, I am going to mention Rishabh Pant. I kind of see myself in him. Probably quite short, stocky, left-handers that like to hit the ball. I'd definitely like to pick his brain for a bit, hopefully, and obviously try and outdo him in the boundary count. We'll see how it goes.
Who are the Indian batters that Team Zimbabwe will be targeting the most?
All 10 of them (in a match). I don't think there's just one or two. That's obviously the talent and the depth that Indian cricket has got so I can't really pick one or two. I'd say I'll be happy to get all 10.
Will Zimbabwe miss going up against Virat Kohli, who is not part of this upcoming series?
Virat is an absolute legend of the game. He is probably one of the best I've ever seen played. With him missing out that obviously means that someone else is going to take his position and I'm sure they'll be wanting to put their hand up. So, in terms of us and how we are looking forward to it, it's obviously a big challenge and we are obviously going to be looking to do the best that we can.
Which Zimbabwe bowlers and batters should Team Idia watch out for the most?
Raza is having a bit of a good patch. He has been in a bit of a purple patch. He has some good form going now. Innocent Kaia, and Regis Chakabva – they just came off some hundreds. These three guys obviously are in some good nick. The bowlers have also been chipping in. Our spinners have obviously kind of tried to bring their game back. Our seamers have also won us a couple of games. Like I said, we've played quite a lot of cricket over the last couple of months and the batters have won us games, the bowlers have won us games. So, it's really hard to pinpoint just one or two. Hopefully, everyone can contribute on the day and it culminates in a team victory.
Ahead of the series, what pep talk did the coaches give the Zimbabwe team members?
Head coach said to keep it as simple as possible, score as many runs as quickly as possible. And in terms of bowling, try to go for the least amount of runs as possible. If we try to over-complicate the game, then things can go slightly wrong.