We can play better: Ntini

HARARE - Zimbabwe interim coach Makhaya Ntini said his charges lack self-belief but they can play better what they did against New Zealand in the first Test at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

The first match concluded on Sunday after the Black Caps sealed an innings and 117 runs victory over the hosts with a day to spare.

It was Zimbabwe’s first Test match since November 2014 when they lost the series 3-0 away to Bangladesh.

The first match clearly exposed Zimbabwe’s lack of game time in the longer format against a super-charged Black Caps side whose last outing in their whites was in February this year against Australia.

“As a person who comes from that country that has got fighters (South Africa), I think what they (Zimbabwe players) should realise is that they are better than what they think they are but it’s just that moment you need to click into them and believe that they can bat, they bowl and they can do everything like any other team,” Ntini said.

“One thing I have realised is that they should be given that space of understanding that they can compete.

“I think what we achieved in the second innings shows even to a person who doesn’t know cricket that Zimbabwe is going somewhere but they just need to be pushed and made to understand that they know what they are required to do.”

Despite the overwhelming defeat, a few players rose to the occasion with all-rounder Sean Williams scoring his maiden Test hundred which also sneaked into the history books as being the fastest Test hundred by a Zimbabwean player.

Batsman Craig Ervine got to his maiden Test fifty while tail ender Donald Tiripano’s first innings unbeaten score of 49 was the highest score by a Zimbabwean number 10 batsman.

Debutant left-hander Prince Masvaure opened his account with a hard fought 42 runs in the first innings.

Ntini believes that if local players get more first class action, then Zimbabwe’s Test side will become competitive again.

At the moment, local players are getting limited time with the red ball due to Zimbabwe Cricket’s cash situation which has seen the domestic league severely curtailed. 

“The most important thing although we know how the situation is here -there’s no professional game time but we need to make sure we have more of these games especially when it comes to Test matches,” said the former South African Test bowler.

“There’s no country that has to wait two and half years to get a Test and we expect that they can easily just get used to it and win Test matches we need to add on.

“What we have now we seen is that we have a basis to begin with the players that we have and we build in towards what we want to achieve and make sure that this country is recognized as a Test nation.

“We need those games, we have so much depth now regarding the players and the people that are gonna be involved and that is something that we are gonna be proud of.”

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