Tue, Oct 10, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Zimbabwe skipper calls for more steel from his batsmen

AP , AHMADABAD, INDIA

Zimbabwe's captain demanded more commitment from his batsmen who have failed to pass the 100-run mark three times during the past year. The team was bundled out for 85 in its first limited-overs qualifier for the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday.

Zimbabwe began the qualifying event with a nine-wicket defeat against the West Indies. It was a dismal batting performance that hastened Zimbabwe's defeat before the match's halfway stage.

"The batsmen didn't apply themselves, it was a combination of poor shot selection and an inclination to play too many strokes early in the innings," said Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya, calling on his batsmen to apply themselves better in the next game against Sri Lanka today.

Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh by 37 runs on Saturday in the round-robin qualifying competition from which the top two teams will advance to the main round of the ICC Champions Trophy beginning Oct. 17.

"We've got to immediately sort out our batting, work on the basics and try to apply ourselves better," said Utseya, 21, who became Zimbabwe's captain before even completing two years of international cricket.

Utseya is leading a young Zimbabwe side as the country's cricket board seeks to rebuild the squad.

Zimbabwe's international cricket ranking has slumped during the past few years since a confrontation between its cricket board and top players that saw an exodus of several established stars.

The match against the West Indies marked the eighth time that Zimbabwe was bowled out for less than 100 since appearing on the international scene in 1983 -- and three of these sub-100 totals have come during the past season.

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