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Whatmore to thrive on team’s hunger

Zimbabwe national cricket team coach, Dave Whatmore has said that, the players who travelled to New Zealand and Australia are sick and tired of losing and want to emerge proud heroes from this World Cup.

Kevin Mapasure

Whatmore told IndependentSport this week, that the players, who have endured criticism, were fully focused on their mission this time on.

However, Whatmore’s comments came before the team’s embarrassing public spat, at the Harare International Airport, where the players bickered over the format used to divide their US$650 000 World Cup proceeds share.

He will have his work cut out for him, to restore unity with the group, after players clashed on how to share the rewards with four senior players, demanding to share almost half of procides among themselves.

With Zimbabwe playing their first match on February 15, Whatmore has got ample time to glue the team together once again.

He said he was encouraged by the players’ were desperate for glory.

“I must say, I am very pleased to work with the team at very close quarters, in the last four weeks, said Whatmore. “What I have learnt from them so far, is that they are tired of losing and they want to change that, to start winning important matches. They are focused on achieving that at the World Cup, aand I am sure, they will produce some good performance. It is powerful motivation that, they want to produce results that they can be proud of.”

Whatmore however, is wary, of the threat posed by Ireland, whom Zimbabwe will be aiming to beat to retain hopes of progressing to the last eight.

The team left the country on Wednesday looking to go and spend more time in New Zealand where they will play the majority of their Pool matches.

Zimbabwe is placed in Pool B, together with West Indies, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Ireland and United Arab Emirates.

Three teams will be eliminated in the first stage, with the top four, after a round-robin of matches progressing to the quarter finals.

The Zimbabwe camp has made no secret that, the minimum would be to win against the associate nations, but they have their sights set on two Test playing nations, who they firmly believe they can upset.
Whatmore said, the two matches against the associates, will be very important for Zimbabwe.

“Both Group A and B are very strong, but ours is slightly stronger because it contains Ireland. We cannot hide the fact that, they are a good team. They have gone past the surprising stage, they are now a fully-fledged ODI side and they are looking to climb up rankings. We are aware of that and we are still confident of winning our matches against them and United Arab Emirates and a further win against a team ranked above us.”

Zimbabwe will play three matches against New Zealand franchises before their two official warm up matches.

The team will play Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the ICC official warm up matches before their first Pool match against South Africa the day after Valentine’s Day.

Zimbabwe schedule: February 15 v South Africa, February 19 v United Arab Emirates, February 24 v West Indies, March 1 v Pakistan, March 7 v Ireland and March 14 v India.

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