Squad starts preparations for Caribbean tour March 9, 2006

Curran upbeat despite Kenya disappointment

Cricinfo staff

Kevin Curran, Zimbabwe's coach, has come out fighting after the 2-2 draw in the home one-day series against Kenya, insisting that there was cause for optimism despite the disappointing result.

"Against Kenya I thought the performance by the youngsters was pleasing and 3-1 would have been a fair reflection of how we performed," he told the Harare-based Herald newspaper. "We should have won the third game but batted poorly after a good performance with the ball. After having them 134 all out but the batsmen failed what should have been a simple task and had we played the fifth game we would have won it.

"Kenya are an ageing side and they do not have the depth we have. If we play them again, with the same group of youngsters, we will beat them easily. We had a number of players who were playing ODIs for the first time and they were successful."

Zimbabwe's players start training ahead of the seven-match one-day series in the Caribbean which begins at the end of April. "It will be basically an extensive fitness training programme because we need to get the team back to fitness levels," Curran said. "There are things that were noted in individual players during the series against Kenya and we will divide the team into small groups for batting and bowling to cover those areas of weakness to get the team to compete at ODI level."

Asked about the squad, Curran said that it was about passion. "If we work as a team we can actually win games and I am willing to work with people who have a passion and will to play for Zimbabwe. We have 20 contracted players willing to wear national colours and if there are any others who have the passion for the national team then we will accept them."

Asked about the situation regarding Andy Blignaut, who missed the Kenya series because of his continuing dispute with the board over money he is owed from last year, Curran said: "I am not sure because he hasn't come back to us but if he shows the passion to play then no problem but if he has other ideas then he should do what he really wants to do."

But he was keen to manage expectations for the West Indies matches. "We are not saying we will beat them but we will be competitive. West Indies have not been having the best of patches but I know Brian Lara has not been playing and he can make a difference. But if they take us lightly, who knows what can happen because with one-day cricket all you need is one brilliant individual performance with bat or ball to turn the game in your favour. The series in the West Indies is a great opportunity for the youngsters."