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WC 2003 - Marsh too blames it on politics and other stuff

Published: Sunday, February 9, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Sydney: Australia-born coach Geoff Marsh has joined skipper Heath Streak in saying the players found it tough keeping their focus on the game amidst the political turmoil in their country. But Marsh, whose contract as a coach expires in September, did not regret being at the helm of a team which has had an indifferent World Cup campaign and has been bogged down by "other stuff". "It has been difficult for the players to keep focussed on cricket," Marsh was quoted as saying in "The Age"."You do not always get the team you want but I am not permitted to discuss what went on in selection," he said."As a coach you always want to have more control on the players you have on the field.... but that decision lies in someone else's hands."It is a very delicate situation and it is hard for me to comment. All I can say is that it has been a big challenge. If I had my time again, I still would have taken the job and when my contract is up (in September), I'll look at what options are presented." Marsh said Zimbabwe could have posed a serious challenge in the World Cup had there been no extraneous factors."It has been a tough tournament. But at the end of the day we did manage to reach the Super Sixes, so I guess we did something right. If not for other stuff, who knows what might have happened," Marsh said. Streak had also conceded that "political insinuations" had made focusing on cricket difficult for his teammates after Zimbabwe crashed out of the World Cup following its first ever defeat to Kenya. Zimbabwe has nothing to play for but pride in Saturdays game against Sri Lanka and is trying to look ahead to its forthcoming tour of England, where the 44-year-old Marsh's guidance and rich experience - 4357 runs in 117 Tests at an average of 39.97 - will come in handy. "When you're doing it tough, you just have to remember that you're trying to put together a cricket field that a nation can be proud of," Marsh said. "That way, you still get up in the morning with a fresh challenge in your mind and you don't let the other stuff get you down." Zimbabwe cricket plunged into deeper crisis with star batsman Andy Flower making it clear he would quit after the Super Six match on Saturday.Selector Andy Pycroft tendered his resignation before the match, citing interference from Zimbabwean Cricket Union (ZCU) officials in the naming of teams.The officials - many of whom are known to be close to President Robert Mugabe - tried to exclude Flower from the team after he and paceman Henry Olonga wore black armbands to protest the "death of democracy" in the country.While threats of a strike by the players forced the officials to include Flower, Olonga was kept out for several matches before being included in Wednesday's game. PTI

Extras:
Rows and bickering blew us off course: Streak
I'm quitting, no regrets about Mugabe protest: Flower
Pycroft quits as selector, Zimbabwe's crisis deepens

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