हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Zimbabwe youngsters ignore misery of home

Published: Saturday, February 4, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Colombo:Zimbabwe's teenage cricketers are determined they will not let the civil strife which has decimated the game at home distract them from their mission to win the Under-19 World Cup.

With the entire senior squad on strike over hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid match fees bonuses and with the country's Test match status suspended, the youth team believe they have a mission to show off the positive aspects of the sport.

Coach Walter Chawaguta said he had encouraged his players not to think about the internal problems in Zimbabwe.

"From day one we've said this is U-19 cricket," he said.

"A lot of them are schoolboys so not a lot of them have been affected. They may be worried about their futures but we have made it very clear they should only worry about things that are in their control - that has been our focus.

"Our future lies in the development of the game and our U-14, U-15 and U-16 sides right up to U-19 level are well developed.

"If we can be competitive at these levels then it means there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Zimbabwe begin their campain against Ireland on Sunday but skipper Sean Williams is targeting a victory over Group 'D' rivals England as the key to his sides progress.

Williams, who has already played four One-day internationals at senior level, also believes that progress to the Super League stage of the tournament here can put a smile back on Zimbabwe cricket.

"The U-19 team we have got has a lot of fight in it and the incentive for us is huge," said the skipper.

"People do not expect a lot from Zimbabwe but at the last U-19 World Cup (in Bangladesh in 2004) we proved a lot and we've come to prove a lot again.

"In an individual way it is important for each and every (Zimbabwe) player that has come across to be seen by the rest of the world," he added.

The importance of the team being in Sri Lanka and also proving the vitality of the game at this development level was echoed by team manager Dilip Chouhan.

"We know all eyes are focused on us in the cricketing fraternity because of what has happened at home," he said.

"As a result we believe we are playing an important role as far as the future of Zimbabwe cricket is concerned."

Zimbabwe lost all five of its matches in Novembers Afro-Asian U/19 Cup in India but Williams said part of the blame for those losses was down to some players being unavailable because of schooling commitments.

He said since that tournament the players had been in a training camp interrupted only by a break for the Christmas holidays in December ahead of the trip to Sri Lanka.

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