Little Taibu wants a win against mighty English

Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Rawalpindi:Zimbabwe's diminutive cricket captain Tatenda Taibu revealed his big cricketing ambitions, saying he wants to upset England in at least one of next month's five One-day games.

"Obviously I am excited and look forward to play England as they are coming to Zimbabwe to play some cricket," Taibu told AFP on Tuesday.

"I always said every game is important for us as we want to move forward and that can be done by playing different opponents."

Taibu who is little under five feet (1.5 meter) said: "If we win at least one game it would help us move forward because I want to lead a strong Zimbabwe team to 2007 World Cup."

Zimbabwe, weakened by the absence of 15 white players including former captain Heath Streak who rebelled against cricket authorities, completed a tour of Pakistan on Monday, losing all four One-day Internationals in the tri-series.

"We had a not so impressive match at Multan, then staged a comeback in Peshawar and had a terrible match against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi which was a case of two steps forward and one backward which is not on," Taibu said.

"England is a better team and since we aim to go forward and for the formula that we don't go back we need to be playing against good teams. England have a good bowling attack which will check our batsmen and it would help us improve."

Taibu, who became international cricket's youngest captain at 20 in April this year, said he was not concerned over some England players not coming to Zimbabwe, including pacer Steve Harmison.

"I never look at it that way that someone is not coming."

"Whoever has replaced Harmison would obviously be good enough to play for England but its obviously disappointing not to face Harmison and a lot of our batsmen would have loved to face him and learn."

Harmison boycotted the Zimbabwe tour for reasons of "personal conscience" over the political situation in Zimbabwe while all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and opener Marcus Trescothick are rested.

"I think politics and sports should be separated. I love my cricket and would never want to involve myself into politics in any way."

Taibu admitted England's refusal to play a World Cup match in Zimbabwe last year was disappointing.

"I would be lying if I say that I did not regret England's no show because its always nice to have a game of cricket without any other thing getting into it."

Taibu's confidence impressed the Pakistanis despite Zimbabwe's poor show in the tri-series.

"My confidence wasn't natural, to be honest. I was never a guy who would stand up in front of people and say but the turning point was when former teammate Guy Whittal told me to be confident and I took his words."

Confidence is the key for Taibu who not only played squash, football, table tennis and rugby but also tried his hand at pole vault before taking up cricket.

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