Big teams should play Zimbabwe more: Lalchand Rajput | Cricket News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Along with the Zimbabwe team and the public, one man who’s excited for this long-pending tour by the Indian team is former India opener Lalchand Rajput.
For someone who has been associated with Zimbabwe cricket first as a head coach (since June 2018) and then as a technical director (June 2022 onwards), Rajput has by now developed an emotional bond with the game in the African nation.
Excerpts from an interview that Rajput gave to TOI from Harare while monitoring Zimbabwe’s daily practice sessions…
How excited are your boys for the forthcoming tour of India -the first against India since 2016?
It’s a great opportunity for Zimbabwe players to play against India and they are really looking forward to it. After having a very successful outing against Bangladesh, our spirits are very high. We will carry that momentum into the India series. Any Indian team will be a tough side to beat, but Zimbabwe will definitely not make things easy for them.
This series will give you a chance to catch up with many old cricketing friends from India…
It will be good to catch up with my old friends, especially VVS Laxman (NCA head, India head coach for this tour), and other members of India’s support staff, as some of them were under me when I was the batting coach at NCA. Players like KL Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi were under me at the specialist batting academy and Shikhar Dhawan and Axar Patel were with me on a couple of tours with India A, where I was the coach.
How would you describe the quality of the Zimbabwe side?
The present team is a good mixture of seniors and youngsters, though we are missing a few senior guys like Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Blessing Mazarbani, Tendai Chatara who are all in rehab because of injuries.
Sikandar Raza is in fine form, having slammed two consecutive hundreds in the recent ODI series against Bangladesh…
He is enjoying a purple patch and batting at his best. Our batting is revolving around him.
This series is part of the ODI World Cup Super League, so it will be important for your 2023 ODI World Cup (which is in India) qualification chances…
Since these are ODI Super League matches it will be good to get some points from them.
Do you think that the BCCI should ensure that India plays with Zimbabwe once every year?
It will be good if the BCCI ensures that Team India plays often with sides like Zimbabwe as it motivates our younger players to take up this game and also helps in overall development of the game in these countries.
How does the future look for Zimbabwe cricket?
They should be playing more matches and big teams like India, Australia and South Africa should play more often. We missed out on the T20 World Cup the last time, but the players and the Zimbabwe Cricket are very excited and happy that we have qualified for it this time.

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