Simmons urges Zimbabwe to learn from defeats

Published: Monday, September 27, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Zimbabwe's West Indian coach Phil Simmons asked his inexperienced players to try and learn from recent heavy defeats in Pakistan as the side struggles to regain its Test status.

"The message is to take something positive from defeats and I am trying to get this young team to a stage where they do not get into the habit of losing," said Simmons, who took over as coach from Australian Geoff Marsh last month.

Zimbabwe cricket has been in turmoil since 15 white players including former captain Heath Streak went on strike in April this year and were subsequently sacked.

On Sunday the youthful, inexperienced team plunged to an innings defeat against the Pakistan Cricket Board Patron's XI.

"I am not worried over the defeat because the lads showed a lot of improvement by scoring over 300 in the first innings," said Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 One-day games for West Indies between 1987-99.

"I am very critical when they lose but at the same time you must take some positives from defeats," said Simmons, whose side faces Pakistan in the first tri-series game at Multan on Thursday.

Sri Lanka is the third team in the series.

"I think the youngsters have got a lot of talent but the main thing is they have got to play more cricket, because some of them have not even played enough first class cricket," said the coach.

Following the players' strike over selection policies, Zimbabwe was forced to field weak teams against Sri Lanka and lost both Tests and five One-day games in a one-sided manner.

They were also routed 5-0 by Australia and the defeats prompted the International Cricket Council (ICC) to suspend Zimbabwe's Test status until the end of this year.

ICC said Zimbabwe's status will be reviewed after they play against another struggling side, Bangladsesh, in Bangladesh in January next year.

"In the first place I didn't agree with it (the suspension of Test match status) but now I am satisfied that I have five to six months to work and try to bring them to a certain level which is acceptable.

"So far we have been going well and hopefully we will be back to Test cricket," said Simmons.

"The players are good, extremely talented and all those who saw the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year where we beat Australia and played well against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, can vouch for the talent."

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