Cricket - Waller hoping for upset

Zimbabwe coach Andy Waller is optimistic his side can spring a surprise against the might of India during the one-day series.

PA Sport
Cricket - Waller hoping for upset
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Zimbabwe have vowed not to underestimate an India side missing Mahendra Singh Dhoni

The teams meet in Harare in the first of five matches, with three to be played in the capital before the series moves to Bulawayo.

On paper it does not appear to be much of a contest, with India reigning World Cup and Champions Trophy winners, but the tourists do not need to look far into the past for a warning that there are no guarantees.

On their most recent visit to Zimbabwe two years ago, when they featured in a tri-series also including Sri Lanka, India lost both their matches to the hosts.

Former batsman Waller is in charge for his first international series after taking over the reins in May.

Zimbabwe warmed up for the contests with a three-day game against Australia A last week, which they lost by 80 runs. There was encouragement for Waller in the performance of his bowlers but the batsmen will need to up their game if they are to trouble India.

Waller admitted in the Indian press that his expectations do not extend to winning the series, but he believes victory in one match is a realistic target.

He said: "All along we've prepared and hoped we might surprise them in one of the games. You've got to be realistic, but as long as we're competitive and do the best we can.

"Our guys are hugely excited about this. It's a great experience for them, and we've been preparing knowing that the best side in the world are coming. I think the guys are up for it. Hopefully all the hard work we've put in the last nine weeks is going to pay off."

The main hope for Zimbabwe comes from the make-up of the India squad, which is missing captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and regular bowlers Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin. Virat Kohli will captain the side while new faces Parvez Rasool and Mohit Sharma are in line to make their India debuts.

Waller is reluctant to view the squad as under strength, though, saying: "I think they've just got so many players. With the new guys who've come in, I don't think there's a huge difference to be honest. We know that they're all very good cricketers, so we don't look at it like a weakened attack at all."

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