Zimbabwe news December 17, 2010

Zimbabwe need to toughen up - Flower

ESPNcricinfo staff

A lack of mental toughness and an inability to deal with high-pressure situations are Zimbabwe's major weaknesses, according to their batting coach Grant Flower. Flower, who made a brief comeback to international cricket during a tour to South Africa in October, accompanied the team to Bangladesh on his first overseas tour since taking up the coaching role.

Zimbabwe won the first one-day international at Mirpur by nine runs but then capitulated against Bangladesh's left-arm spinners to slip to a 3-1 series defeat. Abdur Razzak was the chief destroyer, picking up 13 wickets - including a haul of 5 for 30 in the second game.

"Look, there are guys who have played a lot of cricket in this team," Flower told The Times of India. "There's no longer any excuse of inexperience. I think the guys need to toughen up a bit. They need to deal with the pressure a lot better. Look, it's a balance between technique and the mental side. I think it's the mental aspect we need to work on."

Flower added that Zimbabwe's success at the World Cup, which begins in February, will depend upon their ability to adapt to what are likely to be similarly spin-friendly pitches in India and Sri Lanka. As well as a pre-tournament trip to Dubai in order to acclimatise to subcontinental conditions, Flower suggested that wickets suited to slow bowlers would be prepared in Zimbabwe's domestic season, which is currently underway.

"When our domestic season resumes in January, we will try to practice on turning wickets," he said. "We will prepare turning wickets in our local competitions. We are also going to have a training camp in Dubai for 10 days in early February before the World Cup. Hopefully we will have conditions similar to India and Sri Lanka."

Flower also said that he was looking forward to working with Brian Lara, who has agreed to a batting consultancy contract and will work with the national side ahead of the World Cup and a tabled return to Test cricket in a home series against Bangladesh in May next year.

"I have never worked with him before so I'm looking forward to it. He is one of the world's best batsmen, but it doesn't mean he will be the best coach. I might learn something from him. I hope I will."