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Zimbabwe's Taylor says Afghanistan team demands attention even as bigger tours loom

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HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor believes the series against Afghanistan starting this week demands the full attention of his side, even if there is a temptation to look beyond it to upcoming tours by South Africa and Australia.

The Asian side is in Zimbabwe for four one-day internationals and two four-day games.

The tour, Afghanistan's first of an ICC Full Member country, will be used as preparation for the 2015 World Cup, while Zimbabwe is preparing to host South Africa and Australia in August.

The four ODIs will all be played in the second city of Bulawayo on 18th, 20th, 21st and 24th July while the four-day games, to be played in Harare, will begin on 27th July and 2nd August.

"They are a good side, they have developed quickly as a cricket nation, they are very competitive and have good backing from ICC," Taylor told The Associated Press on Wednesday, adding that Afghanistan has "a few players who can make it very difficult for us."

"They have good balance. Upfront they have good ball strikers. They also have seam bowlers who have done well with the new ball upfront. And also, every subcontinent country has good quality spinners. We have to respect them in all three departments."

The upcoming tour by Australia will be its first visit to Zimbabwe in a decade. The Aussies will play a triangular one-day series that also will involve South Africa.

The South Africans will also engage Zimbabwe in a two-test and limited overs series on the tour.

"It's nice to gauge yourself against the best in the world," said Taylor. "But for now we need to focus on the (Afghanistan) series ahead and not look too far ahead of ourselves."

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