‘I like the challenge’ – Madhevere hopes for a run at No. 3 after last-minute call-up

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Wessly Madhevere is eager to establish himself as Zimbabwe’s No. 3 in ODIs after taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity in the opening game against Australia in Townsville.

Madhevere only learned that he was on the team shortly before the game started when Sean Williams was ruled out during practice on Saturday that he had been elbowed. An indication of what time the change was made came from the hasty scribbles on the team sheet.

“To be honest, I didn’t know I was going to play,” said Madhevere. “was told [on Saturday] I wasn’t going to play but found out Sean wasn’t doing very well with the elbow and then the coach told me I was playing.

“Normally I’m nervous the day before, especially when I know I’ll be playing, but today I was a little relaxed.”

Madhevere went on to hit his fourth ODI fifty and a new career best of 72 to give Zimbabwe a platform from which they could have accelerated to death, but after giving a return catch to Adam Zampa’s latest delivery they lost 6 to 15 to be ejected for 200 with 15 unused balls.

Madhevere, however, is looking to take on the No. 3 role in a more permanent capacity, having made 5 and 2 on the position on previous hits there, in the recent series against India.

“I see myself hitting there, it’s one of the crucial positions if you want to be exposed to the pressure, so that’s one of the most important areas and I quite like that challenge,” he said. “It also helps me grow as a cricketer if I’m exposed to it now, then it will be easier for me in the future.”

He steadily built up against seam and spin, reaching his fifty from 67 balls, and said he found the Townsville surface similar to the one he had played on when he was at school in South Africa.

“I enjoyed it very much,” he said. “I was exposed to those kinds of conditions while I was in school, so I knew what was going on.”

Madhevere added that he believes 250-260 would have been a competitive total and Zimbabwe is hopeful that spin will become more of a factor in the remaining two matches. Sikandar Raza caused some problems with his offspin as legpinner Ryan Burl collected three wickets as the Australians played aggressively against him.

The second ODI will take place on Wednesday.

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