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International Twenty20 Series
Springbok Park, Bloemfontein
We can never take a team lightly. We've prepared for this series like we would do for any other team in terms of our statistical and opposition analysis so we're definitely not taking them lightly.
Corrie van Zyl
Quotes of the week
South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl has promised no change of approach from his side when they start their international season against Zimbabwe on Friday.
The first assignment for the Proteas is a two-match Twenty20 series in the Free State, with the team set to be led by Johan Botha after Graeme Smith stepped down in August.
The opener will no longer be in charge of the team in the game's shortest format, but is still in the squad for the clashes in Bloemfontein and Kimberley on Sunday.
He will still lead the team in one-day internationals and Tests and Van Zyl believes he also has a major role still to play in 20-over cricket.
"We picked Graeme because he's got one of the best records in T20 cricket," the coach said of the hard-hitting left-hander, who is third on the list of most runs (803 from 27 matches) behind Brendon McCullum of New Zealand (1,100 from 40) and England's Kevin Pietersen (911 from 28).
"It's also important for us to get the guys playing as much cricket as possible at this stage of the season and, of course, it's also good to have the one-day captain playing in this format as well."
The hosts have a busy season ahead of February's World Cup, with a three-game ODI series against their neighbours following next week.
They then travel to the United Arab Emirates to play Pakistan in two T20s, five one-dayers and two Tests, followed by a full programme against India starting in Pretoria on December 16.
Zimbabwe have had limited opportunities on the highest stage in recent years, but Van Zyl is still expecting a tough battle.
He added: "It's a very important season for us and it's going to be a very busy season.
"We see the series against Zimbabwe as a stand-alone series, but it's also part of a whole campaign and a whole strategy towards the World Cup.
"We can never take a team lightly. We've prepared for this series like we would do for any other team in terms of our statistical and opposition analysis so we're definitely not taking them lightly.
"Having said that, we also need to make sure we concentrate on our own skills and what we need to do right come Friday night."
Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel will miss the two games due to various injuries, but are expected to return over the next few weeks.
The Zimbabweans, fresh of a 2-1 ODI series win over Ireland, announced the shock return of Grant Flower (39) last week when they named him in their squad.
It came more than six-and-a-half years after his last appearance for his country, but the experience of the veteran Essex batsman is certain to bolster their batting.
Their coach Alan Butcher knows his side are second favourites, but insists they can challenge the hosts.
He said: "Pro20 cricket is about who is the better team on the day, the uncertainty of this format is what makes it so exciting.
"When a team plays Pro20 cricket, the outcome can never be set in stone as the margin for an upset becomes wider. The key is to focus for all twenty overs."
South Africa squad: Johan Botha (capt), Loots Bosman, JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, Heino Kuhn (wkt), David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Graeme Smith, Juan Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
Zimbabwe squad: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Hamilton Masakadza, Grant Flower, Brendan Taylor, Tatenda Taibu (wkt), Charles Coventry, Chamu Chibhabha, Chris Mpofu, Keith Dabengwa, Shingi Masakadza, Ian Nicolson, Graeme Cremer, Prosper Utseya, Ed Rainsford
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