The two sides will play their only Test match, at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo starting today. They will then play the first of three One-day internationals lined up before proceeding to Harare to play the remaining two, and two Twenty20 international matches.
Zimbabwe is hosting Pakistan fresh from a home series against Bangladesh in which they beat the Tigers to mark a historic return to playing Test cricket. Pakistan is ranked sixth in the Reliance International Cricket Council Rankings. It is the more experienced and statistically potent going into the tour. Visiting captain Misbah-ul-Haq Khan, however, is aware of his opponents’ ability and says they are not to be taken for granted.
“I think they [Zimbabwe] are a good side, they were a good unit especially against Bangladesh from the way they performed.
“There are a lot of youngsters in the side especially the bowling attack. They are performing well and I think they are a dangerous side so we are aware of that and we ready for that.
We are just here to play good cricket and I think they [Zimbabwe] can do anything,” he told zimcricket.org
The pressure might be on the host captain’s shoulders as the Bangladesh win increased expectations of a repeat against Pakistan. Zimbabwe XI’s performance against the tourists may have also been a ray of hope for the home side, as the Pakistan senior batsmen struggled against the bowling attack on Tuesday, one that gave them a rehearsal of what to expect at Queens today.
“It is going to be tough I must say. There will always be pressure, there are always expectations but if we keep it simple and play to our strengths then there is no reason why we can’t get a good result, seeing from the way we’ve prepared and the manner in which we went about our Test match and the ODI series.
“I think we’ve all mentally prepared in our own ways as individuals. Nothing will change from that and we will go out there and be very competitive and show that we have a fighting streak within us,” said Taylor.
Misbah-ul-Haq is yet to lose a Test series as captain. His tenure includes drawn series against South Africa and the West Indies, and victory against New Zealand - all in away tours. On their part, Zimbabwe's four Test wins against top-flight opposition came against Pakistan, including the first ever victory in the format which was in Harare in 1995.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (Captain);Regis Chakabva; Chamunorwa Chibhabha; Craig Ervine; Kyle Jarvis; Gregory Lamb: Hamilton Masakadza; Tinotenda Mawoyo; Christopher Mpofu; Raymond Price; Vusimuzi Sibanda; Tatenda Taibu; Prosper Utseya; Brian Vitori; and Malcolm Waller.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Imran Farhat, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan, Junaid Khan, Aizaz Cheema and Shoaib Malik.