Zimbabwe gear up for tough one-day series
Kevin Curran, the former Zimbabwean allrounder and new national coach, hopes he will be able to help the struggling team put on an improved performance in the upcoming one-day tri-series, also involving New Zealand and India, after they were thrashed 2-0 in the recently concluded Test series against New Zealand.
Curran replaced Phil Simmons, the former West Indian allrounder, who was sacked after the Test series against New Zealand where Zimbabwe succumbed without too much of a fight - losing the first Test within two days and the second within three. Curran said that he would aim to build on the team's effort and spirit. "This is natural in Zimbabwe, where schools, right through from a very young age, are given coaching of a good standard by teachers, who regard sport as an integral part of education," Curran was quoted as saying by AFP. "I have been part of that culture, right from childhood. I know it; respect it, and all the players it has produced in 30 years."
Curran, who played 11 one-day internationals for Zimbabwe apart from being one of the most effective overseas players in English county cricket, said that Zimbabwe had turned out world-class cricketers in spite of having a small first-class structure that comprised only four provinces. "The intensive and long standing sports culture is why this small country has produced a number of world-class sportspeople over the years," said Curran. "I want all the team to rapidly improve by 5%, let's say, because that will impact on the team as a whole. I am a team man but also a really competitive person, and always have been. I want that to rub off and I'm sure it will."
He added that he hoped to transform Zimbabwe into one of the top teams in one-day cricket and that he was looking forward to the challenge. "It's all very exciting for me, even though it will be a lot of hard work. When people say they need time, that's very true. One day before not very long we shall be a force in world cricket. That, basically, is down to me."
The one-day series gets underway on August 24 with Zimbabwe taking on New Zealand in the opener at Bulawayo. Chris Cairns, Craig McMillan, Andre Adams and Jeetan Patel have joined the New Zealand squad for the one-day series. India, the third team in the fray, are scheduled to arrive in Zimbabwe on August 23.