These games were first meant to take place in 2020, but the impact of Covid-19 pushed them back. It’s fair to say some wondered if they would ever take place. While Cricket Australia is doing as they should, it is also part of a wider revamp of their image as being more aware of their wider responsibilities to the game. Zimbabwe Cricket even tested the waters about a one-off Test being tagged on although it was, sadly, only ever a pipe dream.
This is Australia’s first time back together since the Sri Lanka tour in June-July, although some of the players have been at the Hundred. The last time they had an ODI at home was in early December 2020 against India. The immediate white-ball aim is defending the T20 World Cup title, but the ODI World Cup, which is scheduled for next October, is close enough to focus somewhat. Not least because it’s close to a full-strength side, so tactics and game plans can be worked on.
Australia WLLLW (last five matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
It will be fascinating to watch Cameron Green‘s development as a one-day cricketer. Everything suggests he’ll be hugely successful at it. In this side, he is being picked as a third fast bowler and the eighth batting option, giving Australia a deep order. Glenn Maxwell is locked at No. 7, a role he has had huge success at, but in reality, Australia’s allrounders could bat in any position. In time, Green will surely find himself higher up.
He’s done it against Bangladesh. He’s done it against India. Now can Sikandar Raza do it against Australia? He is one of the form players in the world at the moment after three centuries in his last six ODIs. “We look up to him a lot and hope he’ll continue to do so,” captain Regis Chakabva said. Keep an eye out for Brad Evans, too, after he took 5 for 54 in their last match against India.
Australia: 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 David Warner, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Alex Carey (wk), 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Cameron Green, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Zimbabwe (possible): 1 Takudzwanashe Kaitano, 2 Innocent Kaia, 3 Sean Williams, 4 Tony Munyonga, 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Regis Chakabva (capt & wk), 7 Ryan Burl, 8 Luke Jongwe, 9 Brad Evans, 10 Richard Ngarava, 11 Victor Nyauchi/Blessing Muzarabani
Pitch and conditions
With play starting at 9.40am local time there is the expectation that there could be some early assistance for the quicks but after that, it should be good for batting. It’s forecast to be a cloudy day but should stay dry. There are no international standard floodlights at the ground.
Stats and trivia
“There’ll be a bit of mixing and matching of the structure, whether we go with two spinners and two quicks and lessen the load on the allrounders, we’ll see.”
Aaron Finch said Australia may tinker with the balance of the side over these six games against Zimbabwe and New Zealand
“It obviously gave us a lot of confidence. We’ve been speaking a lot before that series, just in terms of how competitive we want to be and the last game was pretty close to what we want to be doing.”
Regis Chakabva on building on from the performance in the last game against India
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo