Zimbabwe must improve their mental toughness if they are going to have any impact at next year’s cricket World Cup, team batting coach Grant Flower has said.
Zimbabwe failed to cope with the left-arm spin attack of Bangladesh in the five-match, one-day series they lost 3-1 this month, with chief destroyer Abdur Razzak bagging a total of 13 wickets.
Only two half-centuries were scored by Zimbabwe, who won the first game but were then outclassed over the rest of the series.
Flower, who was on his first overseas tour since returning home to be the national side’s batting coach, said the team’s failure was not entirely due to lack of ability.
“Look, there are guys who have played a lot of cricket in this team. There’s no longer any excuse of experience. I think the guys need to toughen up a bit,” Flower told The Associated Press.
“They need to deal with the pressure a lot better. Look, it’s a balance between technique and the mental side. I think it’s the mental aspect we need to work on.”
However, Flower said Zimbabwe’s survival in the World Cup would also hinge on adapting to the spin-friendly pitches on the subcontinent, something they would try to prepare for at home.
“When our domestic season resumes in January, we will try to practise on turning wickets. We will prepare turning wickets in our local competitions,” said Flower.
“We are also going to have a training camp in Dubai for 10 days in early February before the World Cup. Hopefully we will have conditions similar to India and Sri Lanka.”
At the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, Zimbabwe failed to win a pool match.
Flower also said he was keen to work with West Indies great Brian Lara, who will periodically join the team as a batting consultant after signing a contract with the Zimbabwe Cricket board last month.
“I have never worked with him before so I’m looking forward to it,” Flower said.
“He is one of the world’s best batsmen, but it doesn’t mean he will be the best coach. I might learn something from him. I hope I will.”
Flower, who turns 40 today, resisted overtures by Zimbabwe’s selectors to play in the World Cup.
He made a brief comeback to international cricket during a tour of South Africa in October, but confirmed he was retired from the international side after captaining his local team Mashonaland Eagles to the domestic Twenty20 championship in November.