November 19, 2008 / 10:14 PM / 10 years ago

Cricket-Zimbabwe believe Mendis is more dangerous than Murali

HARARE, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya believes Sri Lanka’s new mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis could be a bigger threat than veteran Muttiah Muralitharan in their five-match one-day series starting on Thursday.

“We were lucky to play Mendis in a four-day game and we have an idea of what to expect from him,” Utseya told reporters on Wednesday.

“Murali didn’t play in that warmup game, but I don’t think he’s as effective as Mendis. But basically it’s all about us reacting to whatever they dish out.”

Zimbabwe, struggling to stay afloat against a background of political turmoil, have not hosted an international side since West Indies won a five-match series 3-1 last December.

Utseya acknowledged the series against the losing 2007 World Cup finalists would be tough.

“Obviously, on paper they are better than us, but in terms of what we can do I think we have done well in our preparations and we can only expect positive results to come out of those preparations,” he said.

“We haven’t played much cricket this year, but from the little action we’ve had and the preparations, I think we are prepared for the challenge. We can’t be using lack of international matches as an excuse.”

“We just need to stick to the basics because whenever you play against top bowlers, you have to go back to the basics.” t

“We just need to believe in ourselves and do the right things, because a good ball will trouble any batsman, including the best in the world, and that’s all we need to work on.” (Additional reporting by Lawrence Moyo) (Writing by Ken Borland in Bloemfontein; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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