Lara, who will begin his third tenure as West Indies captain in the first of seven One-day internationals against the struggling African side in St John's today, said he was alarmed by the West Indies slide from being the best team in the world in the 1970s to their current lowly ranking.
Lara told reporters, ''We definitely do not belong just above the minnows of world cricket.
''That is something we need to address - not just as players but as an association and as people in the Caribbean.'' The International Cricket Council ranks the West Indies eighth in One-day as well as Test cricket. The Zimbabweans fill ninth position on both ladders.
Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran said: ''We have a very young side, the bottom line for us is to try and be competitive right the way through the series.'' Most of Zimbabwe's more experienced players have quit the game in frustration at what they see as political interference in selection, or over contractual disputes.
Zimbabwe have lost 26 of their last 30 One-day internationals.