Zim U19 cricketers upbeat

HARARE - Zimbabwe U19 cricket bowling coach Prosper Utseya is confident the team will do well at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup which got underway in Bangladesh yesterday with the hosts beating South Africa by 43 runs in the opener.

The locals who are pooled in Group C together with England, West Indies and Fiji open their account against the Oceania side Fiji in Chittagong tomorrow.

Their second match will be against England on Sunday before winding off their group stage campaign with a date against West Indies on February 2.

Having played a number of preparatory matches against Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Singapore and Namibia, the team is raring to go despite going down in most of the games serve for minnows Namibia.

“Our boys have definitely improved all round and it’s now only a matter of applying skills learnt in the nets to matches. We gained a lot of experience from playing these games, as you know you can’t buy it,” Utseya told the Daily News from Bangladesh.

“The last time we played Bangladesh we were averaging 145 with the bat and this time around we managed an encouraging 230/5 and batted through all our overs.

“From the bowling side, we rested two of our strike bowlers and it was encouraging to see one seamer stepping up with five wickets.”

“The team is headed by former national team coach Steve Mangongo with former Zimbabwe player and Utseya’s teammate then, Greg Lamb taking charge of batting as the batting coach.

In their last warm-up encounter against Namibia on Monday, the locals recorded a morale-boosting eight-wicket win with 166 balls remaining.

“We were too strong for Namibia hence we didn’t really get tested. We are not really worried as the technical department at the moment.

“What’s key is, the guys don’t play names but just their normal game and I’m sure we will do the nation proud,” he added.

Utseya and his batting counterpart Lamb have all played at the U19 World Cup on their way to the senior team and he believes that the players are all at par hence should not be intimidated.

“As far as I am concerned at that age (U19) regardless of where you come from, nothing has been accomplished yet so everyone is at the same level so it’s about self-belief in one’s skills and the execution on the day,” he said.

“Hopefully, we can win the Cup but we will take it one game at a time, doing our level best in everything we do so that we don’t have any regrets after the tournament.”

Zimbabwe U19 Cricket Squad

Brandon Mavuta (c), Trevor Chibvongodze, Jeremy Ives, Adam Keefe, Wesley Madhevere, Rugare Magarira, William Mashinge, Kundai Matigimu,

Sydney Murombo, Ryan Murray (wk), Richard Ngarava, Akshay Patel, Milton Shumba, Brendan Sly, Shaun Snyder

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