ZIMBABWE Cricket head coach, Dave Houghton broke his silence on the team’s recent failure to qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup set to be co-hosted by West Indies and USA next year, while also proffering possible solutions towards turning around the country’s waning fortunes.
The Chevrons were outdone by World Cup-bound Namibia and Uganda, with the former national team captain attributing the defeats to players’ failure to handle pressure.
Since their return from Namibia where the Africa region qualifier was played, Zimbabwe played their first match against Ireland on Thursday night and won the first of the three match T20 series by one wicket.
But the win was no consolation for the disappointment of failing to make it to the World Cup.
The fans still want answers and they are still demanding solutions. Houghton has suggested ways that may help the team lift itself from the rubbles.
“The bottom line is when that happens to us from the game against Scotland in a 50 overs to a couple of games that we have had recently, it comes down to pressure. The pressure of expectation, people expect us to win those games and that pressure of expectation is what has been the stumbling block for us a couple of times,” Houghton told Weekender Sport.
“How do we fix it, well it starts way back down. It starts on the whole development programme, it starts in our franchise cricket. How many of our franchise games are played under that pressure, where else do you experience that pressure except in that game? We have got to put ourselves under that pressure more often. That means our franchise cricket has got to pick itself up to a level that puts us under that pressure all the time. It means that more and more often we are playing under that pressure and when we cross that barrier more, we get used to it and we take that with us into games like these qualifiers.”
The former Zimbabwe captain expects to roll out some of his input to the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) when they meet for a post-mortem of both the failed T20 World Cup campaign and the current limited overs series against Ireland.
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“We have to find a way, how do we progress, how we will keep going upwards is what will be up for discussion. I know we have some discussions coming up with ZC in the next two weeks,” he said.
“But we have to look at this from the bottom to the top. How do we get better? We are lucky we have got so many players at the moment, where do we get the next ones?”
“Every single game that our national team plays is important to this country but that cannot be the only focus of everybody in this country. We have to focus on development. There will be times when we go away when we may take a mixture of the solid first team players and a number of young guys with us and we are able to swap around and play,” he added.