Match Preview – Zimbabwe vs Pakistan, Pakistan tour of Zimbabwe 2021, 1st Test

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For the first time since 2017, Zimbabwe have the chance to play Test cricket against a side other than Afghanistan or Bangladesh. While that might be welcome in itself, the home side showed enough against Pakistan in the shorter formats to aspire to more than just a participation trophy in the upcoming two-match series.

Zimbabwe play this format so exceedingly sparingly against top Test sides it’s difficult to know what to expect, and easy to empathise with a side that gets such few opportunities to make coherent plans across matches, series and seasons. The last time they played against a top eight side, for instance, came against South Africa in 2017; just two of the 11 who lined up for that game are part of the squad that takes on Pakistan. But to search for real inspiration against the visitors, the coaching staff might be reminding them of the last time this particular opposition played Test cricket on Zimbabwean soil.

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