Williams targets T20 World Cup
Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE all-rounder Sean Williams is aiming to replicate the form that stood him out the last time the Chevrons were involved in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers.
Williams is part of the 16-member squad picked by the selection committee to represent Zimbabwe at the ICC Men’s Cricket T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier that begins in Namibia tomorrow.
He was in top form when Zimbabwe hosted the final Qualifier for the recent ICC World Cup that ended in India at the weekend.
Williams’ form, which saw him raking up 600 runs and also bagging the Man of the Tournament award despite Zimbabwe getting knocked out along the way, was outstanding.
And he hopes for a repeat during the week-long continental Qualifier for the T20 World Cup.
“Definitely (I would want to repeat the form). Obviously, the mind frame that I found myself in, it was incredible. It was an incredible space to be in.
“It was incredible for the team as well to have me in that mind frame and if I can get back in there it just goes to show what is actually possible, things that you can achieve as a team as well.
“Going into qualifiers, it’s a different format, my role doesn’t change. It stays the same, hopefully it comes off and if not hopefully somebody else can do it. As long as we win that tournament,” said Williams.
During the final Qualifier for the tournament held in Harare and Bulawayo, the veteran all-rounder scored an impressive 600 runs and took three wickets across seven innings played by the Chevrons.
He had a strike rate of 139.21, hitting 13 sixes and 67 boundaries. Williams scored three centuries, a 91, and a half-century, ending the tournament with an average of 100.
But Williams had been battling for full fitness in the last few months and missed the recent tour of Namibia where the Chevrons were on a mission to acclimatize with the conditions. Williams was excited to be part of the recent training camp before the team departed for Namibia on Sunday.
“Obviously, I wasn’t with the squad in Namibia but then coming back and joining them in the training camp; the understanding of the preparations needed to go forward is very clear.
“It’s enjoyable to be around and it’s entertaining as well and that’s the brand of cricket that we want to play. So, coming back into a busy and energetic environment is always good.
“The discussions are strong; always willing to go forward and grow from a certain point. I am always getting the feeling that when the team is faced with fear they are jumping.
“So, it’s a really good feeling and also with (Sikandar) Raza taking care of the captaincy; he is energetic, he is an entertainer. Having that type of leadership is also going to be key going forward in the shorter version of the game,” said Williams.
Zimbabwe will begin their campaign tomorrow against hosts Namibia. This will be Raza’s first assignment since his appointment as team captain for the format.
They will be counting on the experience of fellow veterans Craig Ervine and Tendai Chatara, alongside the youthful Richard Ngarava, Ryan Burl and Wellington Masakadza, as Zimbabwe seek to secure their place at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.
They have been boosted by the return to full fitness of pace bowler Blessing Muzarabani who missed the team’s tour to Namibia for a bilateral T20 international series last month as he was still recuperating from a right-hand fracture.
Dave Houghton’s men are among the seven teams vying for the two ticket to the finals of the next edition of ICC Men’s Cricket T20 World Cup to be held in West Indies and the United States from in June 2024.
Zimbabwe have made four changes to the side that featured at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia, with opening batters Innocent Kaia, Nicholas Welch and Tadiwanashe Marumani coming in alongside fast bowler Carl Mumba.
Coach Houghton is excited by the blend of upcoming players and the seniors.
“The senior players will always be the most important thing but we have a team now of guys who have quite a bit of experience.
“Nick Welch is probably the only newcomer that we have but don’t forget he has four years of County experience, T20 Blast against some of the best players in the world.
“So, I wouldn’t call him inexperienced. We have got a nice blend of senior players and youth and I think we blend really well. From that point of view, senior guys are always important but I expect our young guys to stand up as well,” said Houghton.