Zimbabwean head coach Makhaya Ntini believes the country has the talent to turn around their fortunes.
Zimbabwe lost their T20 series against India after slipping from a commanding position to lose the third and deciding game of the series. But the team played some good cricket at times and Ntini says the improvement he has seen from the T20 series against India gives him great hope for the future of Zimbabwean cricket.
‘You look at the team where it was, from the ODIs to get to the T20s. There’s so much improvement, the energy,’ Ntini said.
You’ve seen the guys running around, diving around, believing in themselves. They get in the situation where they just need that 10% of belief for them to go through. When you get to the situation where you think you’re almost through the line, becoming a hero, creating history, it just needs a little bit of push for us. We want to see guys coming back here and fill up the stadiums. The cricket that was played today tells that there’s so much this country can do.’
Ntini also believes the improvement that his team has shown in the T20 format must be replicated at Test level, if they are to be taken seriously as a cricketing nation. The Zimbabwean team does not appear in the list of top-10 Test nations due to them not playing enough Test matches in the current cycle, and Ntini says Test cricket should also be a priority going forward.
‘This is a Test nation country,’ he emphasised. ‘We can’t really close our opportunities and only believe on one side of an innings. T20 is just an entertaining game. We need to build [players] to believe that they will be able to play any game. There’s Tests coming up against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, so if we only play T20s, how can we improve ourselves and keep our Test status?
‘We know that this country shouldn’t have to go and play qualifiers. This is where we are building them. That challenge is not going to be just for a night. We want to make sure that everything we give them, they believe that they can do better. We’re not in a position where we need to look very far ahead of us. Game-by-game, day-by-day trying to win and get in the position of believing in themselves.’
Zimbabwe’s next assignment will be a two-match Test series at home against New Zealand starting on July 28.
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