Wessly Madhevere is not afraid to be ambitious and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 is the perfect stage for him to record a first international century.
The 22-year-old all-rounder has registered 12 half-centuries in white-ball cricket since breaking into the Zimbabwe team three years ago but has not quite cracked three figures.
Now, as Zimbabwe look to return to the biggest stage for the first time since 2015 by coming through the Qualifier on home soil, Madhevere is desperate to show he can be a match-winner with the bat.
“If there is one thing that has been said by the coaches and so many people who know me, is that they are demanding a big score,” he said.
“I know I’m due a big score. I’m looking to get my first hundred in this tournament. Hopefully it happens. That is one of the things that almost everyone is talking about.”
Zimbabwe will open their campaign against Nepal in Harare on Sunday before taking on the Netherlands two days later.
And for Madhevere, that meeting with the Dutch brings back some happy memories, having taken a hat-trick against them earlier this year.
“I don’t know if I can explain the feeling of taking the hat-trick but it was something beyond what I could imagine,” he said.
“For it to actually happen to me came as a surprise but I’ll take it and look to take more. It was a brilliant feeling.
“I believe I’m one of those players who thrives on confidence. Being able to contribute to my team and being able to help the team win games, it can only boost my confidence.
“I’m quite confident right now and hopefully I’ll be able to put on some match-winning performances for my team.”
It has now been 20 years since Zimbabwe got through the group stage of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup – doing so twice in succession in 1999 and 2003.
And for Madhevere, the chance to re-establish Zimbabwe at the highest level is something he has dreamed about for a long time.
He said: “I was probably 10 when I started watching cricket and dreamed about playing for my country. For it to happen for me right now is massive, I can’t even explain.
“This tournament means a lot. So many players in our squad have dreamt about playing in it. I’ve dreamt a lot about playing in a tournament like this.
“It’s exciting times for us and for the nation as well. Guys are keen to get back the status that Zimbabwe cricket had and there is no better chance than this one, so we’re really excited about the opportunity.”
How they qualified
Zimbabwe finished second bottom of the Super League to drop into the Qualifier, which they will host.
Their six victories from 24 matches included eye-catching triumphs over Australia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, three series in which they ultimately ended up losing 2-1.
World Cup record
The Chevrons featured in every ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup between 1983 and 2015 but missed out on qualification four years ago.
Their best performances came in 1999 and 2003, Zimbabwe reaching the Super Six stage on both occasions.
One to watch
Ryan Burl claimed career-best figures of five for 10 when Zimbabwe beat Australia in Townsville last year.
Also a useful lower-order hitter, as Ireland can testify – Burl smashing an unbeaten 30 from 11 balls to win an IT20 in Harare in January.
When are they playing?
The hosts feature on day one against Nepal (June 18) before further matches against Netherlands (June 20), West Indies (June 24) and USA (June 26).-ICC