Whatmore confident of charges

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket coach is confident that his team will put in a good showing at the 2015 Cricket World Cup that gets underway next month in Australia and New Zealand.

The Southern African country has been drawn in a tough Pool B at the tournament that includes fellow Test-playing nations South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies and together with Associate nations Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.

Zimbabwe needs to get at least four wins in those first pool matches to at least get a chance of qualifying for the knock-out stage of the competition. 

Speaking at the team’s send-off ceremony at Town House in the capital yesterday, Whatmore, who took over the team from Stephen Mangongo earlier this month, said he was not concerned with quality of the opposition.

“Both pools are very strong ad it doesn’t matter what group you are in, you have to do your best and if you are doing your best then you are going to have a your fair share of victories,” said the Sri-Lankan-born Australian.

“So it doesn’t really matter about the pools; we know who we are going to play against and we are going to be prepared as best as we can.”

Zimbabwe are flying out this afternoon to Dubai where they will conduct a two-week training camp before proceeding to New Zealand where they will play a warm-up game against the Black Caps on February 9.

The team’s final warm-up match will be against Sri Lanka two days later before kick starting their World Cup campaign against South Africa on February 15.

Zimbabwe are poor travellers with very few victories on the road since attaining Test status back in 1992 but that is not worrying Whatmore ahead of this tournament.

Late last year, Zimbabwe was whitewashed across three Tests and five ODIs during the disastrous tour of Bangladesh.

“Some those destinations have been in difficult conditions in the subcontinent which is not an easy place to go away from home,” he said.

“In this tournament we are not playing against one team; for a lot of the teams they will be playing away from home.”

Whatmore, who won the 1996 Cricket World Cup with Sri Lanka, is well aware of the danger posed by Associate nation Ireland, who beat Zimbabwe by three wickets in a group match at last year’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

“There’s no doubt that Ireland are a good side most of their players have had the benefit of playing first class cricket in England. Most of their players are professional cricketers in the County circuit,” he said.

“There is no point in hiding behind that Ireland are an Associate nation; they have gone past the tag of surprising people we now know they are good.

“So it’s going to be a tough game but we expect to do well as we would against the other teams.”

Speaking at the same function, acting Mayor of Harare Thomas Muzuva urged the team to do well at the world cricket showpiece.

“Go out there and show the true Zimbabwean spirit of resilience, fight, dedication, love for one another and above all the spirit of winning,” said Muzuva.

“As we speak there are the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Equatorial Guinea. Our soccer guys did not make it there. We have now deposited all our faith and hope in you the cricket team. So go all out and bring the smiles on our faces.”

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