Rahane backs youthful side

HARARE – India cricket captain Ajinkya Rahane has backed his side to perform well in the limited overs series against Zimbabwe which gets underway with the first ODI at Harare Sports Club tomorrow.

The former world champions landed in the capital on Tuesday evening and did not waste much time as they held their first training session at the match venue yesterday before addressing the media.

India is currently ranked second in both ODI and T20 formats while Zimbabwe is in 11th and 13th place in the respective formats.

Only three points separates India and third-placed New Zealand in ODIs and they just two ahead of Australia (122) in T20s meaning any slip-up during the series could cost them on the rankings.

“Our objective is to play good cricket,” Rahane told reporters yesterday.

“We’ve got a pretty young side, so it’s a good opportunity for all the youngsters to do well at international level.

“Most of them did pretty well in domestic season back home and even in the IPL and as captain I’m sure the boys will do well which gives us the confidence that we are here to win the games.”

The Indians arrived in Zimbabwe after a disappointing tour of Bangladesh where they were handed a series defeat in the ODIs.

Rahane, who is standing in for MS Dhoni who is rested for the Zimbabwe series said, the Bangladesh episode was now a closed chapter and they are looking forward to the task at hand.

“We are not taking Zimbabwe lightly, we are respecting them and looking to playing good cricket,” he said.

“In a positive way (fielding youngsters) I think it’s a good opportunity for all the youngsters to express themselves because we are taking Zimbabwe very serious.

“Everywhere we go, we take every opponent very seriously and here we are taking Zimbabwe very seriously. We want to bank on our strength and whatever potential we got, we have to showcase that on the pitch.”

India Squad: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Harbhajan Singh, Axar Patel.

Zimbabwe Squad: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Graeme Cremer, Hamilton Masakadza, Neville Madziva, Richmond Mutumbami, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Donald Tiripano, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.

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