Zimbabwe’s cricket captain Hamilton Masakadza said Thursday that his team was focused on the upcoming tri-nation Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh, despite being suspended by the world governing body. The International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Zimbabwe in July over a failure to keep the sport free from government interference, putting the cricketing future of the country under a cloud.
But the ban is effective only in events hosted by the ICC, allowing the team to participate in the Bangladeshi tournament set to begin Friday, featuring the hosts and Afghanistan. “Obviously a lot of things happened. That’s all behind the scenes. At the end of the day as cricketers, our job is to… play the best cricket on the field,” Masakadza told reporters in Dhaka.
“The first and main thing for players is to concentrate on cricket and then put our best foot forward going out and do your job for your country tomorrow.”
Zimbabwe will take on Bangladesh in the opening match in Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Friday. Masakadza -- who will retire from international cricket after the tournament -- said his team were going into the games with a lot of confidence, having done well in Bangladesh in the past.
“Obviously, both the teams are very strong. Afghanistan have been playing very good Twenty20 cricket and Bangladesh being at home,” he said.
“Though I know the both sides are very strong, we have a lot of successes in Twenty20 cricket here. So I don’t think we are far behind them at all.”
Zimbabwe’s confidence was boosted further after Wednesday’s seven-wicket win in a warm-up match against some of the Bangladeshi Twenty20 squad.
However, Masakadza said he was well aware that the matches going forward would be more challenging. Zimbabwe will face Afghanistan in their second match of the tournament on Saturday.