Zimbabwe want to be competitive
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
Zimbabwe have dismissed suggestions they can take advantage of a West Indies side still smarting from their hammering by Australia in the just concluded one-day series Down Under.
Team consultant Dave Houghton contended his side offered up a totally different challenge to that of Australia and even though they wanted to win, they were focused on giving the hosts strong competition throughout the five-match one-day international series.
"We arrived here with a young team that is talented and we are hoping to win, but more importantly we want to compete with the West Indies," said Houghton after the African side touched down at Piarco International Airport on Tuesday evening from London.
"We have some very talented players in the Zimbabwe team and they are ready for a good battle.
"The West Indies were blasted out by really quick bowling in Australia. We offer them a different attack so by the Windies losing in Australia is not really that important to this series."
Zimbabwe are scheduled to play one warm-up match against a UWI Vice-Chancellor's XI at the Frank Worrell Memorial Ground tomorrow before taking on the Windies in the sole T20I at the Queen's Park Oval on Sunday.
They will head to Guyana for the first two ODIs, with the final three scheduled for Arnos Vale in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
With Zimbabwe currently suspended from Test cricket, bowling coach Heath Streak said the tour would be a crucial one for the side as they looked to re-enter the five-day fold soon.
"This is an important tour for us and the world is looking at Zimbabwe cricket in terms of our progress," said Streak, who snatched 216 wickets and scored a Test century during an outstanding 65-Test career which ended five years ago.
"We have got to start winning matches and our goal is to get back into Test cricket in a year and a half time. The guys are working very hard at this and this tour is very important in that regard."
Houghton, who averaged 43 in 22 Tests between 1992 and 1997, was even more optimistic of a quicker return to the Test arena.
"I personally think that we should be playing Test cricket again by the end of the year," he pointed out.