Auckland: Zimbabwe stand-in captain Brendan Taylor feels that the Indian bowling unit will not only trouble his team with swing but also with the pace when the two teams meet in a Pool B match of the ICC Cricket World Cup here on Saturday.
Taylor, who will be playing his last match for the national side as he is migrating to England for a better future, is wary of the current Indian team, one of title contenders in the ongoing mega-event.
"We all know they are a batting powerhouse but they certainly hold their own with the ball. They've had proven performances with their spinners, and we see how well they've done for India over the years, and even in conditions that are not so suitable for them, they've still been very difficult to get away," Taylor said at the pre-match media conference today.
"Even their new ball bowlers have struck early, where they possibly haven't done that well in the past, they're bowling with some good pace, too. That's certainly good for Indian cricket, and it'll be very challenging for us tomorrow, not just the pace but the swing they're producing at the moment."
Asked about what kind of inputs have been provided to the team by its chief coach Dav Whatmore, the stand-in captain said, "Well, he's sort of at training sessions had little whispers in our ears as individuals and just really raising the idea about certain players and certain bowlers and certain batters. He's been brilliant for Zimbabwe cricket. It's still early days. He's got some great ideas, and we'll certainly move forward as a team with him.
"It's great to sort of pick his brains, and working with him has been very productive."
With not much at stake for them, one of the Zimbabwean players went for a fishing trip. In fact, they are all relaxed before meeting India.
"Our preparation has been really good. The team still very upbeat at the moment, and players are very positive. In terms of fishing, one of our teammates has gone fishing and the rest are just doing a few recovery sessions and just getting their minds right for tomorrow," he said.
A lot of 300 plus scores have been posted in this World Cup and Taylor attributes it to the change in way teams have strategised in the 50-over format.
"In terms of Twenty20 cricket and the way the game is evolving, particularly with that extra fielder in the ring now, it just shows if teams are starting fairly slowly, if they have wickets in hand during the middle overs to the end, the 350s and even the 400s, we've seen that. I think it's great for the game.
"It's entertaining for everyone, and I think it's sort of put everything to bed with regards to the one-day game falling away. I think it's great for cricket," he said.
Taylor, however, feels that if ICC moves back to the previous rule of having five fielders outside the 30-yard circle, it would be great for the game.
"Me personally as a batsman, it does have its bonuses, but in terms of the bowlers, I think it's extremely difficult on them. They can always start well, but at the back end of their spells, they really are taking a pounding. I can respect that decision if they do change it, but that'll be out of our hands as players, I guess, and we'll let the ICC make that rule.
"But if it changes, that's fine. I think the game is still heading in the right direction," said Taylor.
Asked about how much pressure associate nation like Ireland are putting on Zimbabwe, Taylor replied, "But it just means we've got to push a little bit harder, and if we get a bit more cricket in the future, that's certainly going to help us become better players. From what I understand Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) are working really hard to do that, but I think it's been excellent the way the associates have gone about their business in this World Cup."