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T20 failure: Makoni unhappy

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ZIMBABWE Cricket’s selection convenor Givemore Makoni says poor preparations cost Zimbabwe a place in Super 10 stage of the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 (T20) competition in Bangladesh.

DANIEL NHAKANISO
SPORTS REPORTER

The national cricket team returned home on Sunday evening after becoming the first Test-playing country to bow out of the T20 World Cup in preliminary round last Friday.

Makoni, who travelled with the Brendan Taylor-led team to the subcontinent said although the loss to Ireland in the first qualifying match ultimately sealed their fate, the team paid the price for their shambolic preparations.

“It’s obviously very disappointing but then again we didn’t give ourselves a chance. The first game we lost against Ireland was a crucial match and we should have grabbed our chance and won it. Our perfomance was below par, but there are various factors that contributed to that,” Makoni told reporters soon after arrival at the Harare International Airport on Sunday evening.

“Firstly, we didn’t have the ideal preparations and that’s what happens when you don’t prepare properly. I mean two days before we left for Bangladesh we were not even sure if we were going to participate in the tournament or not and those are some of the things that contributed,” Makoni said in reference to the team’s chaotic preparations due to boycotts over unpaid wages.

Pay issues and lack of match practice cost Zimbabwe as players spent more time in meetings with the Zimbabwe Cricket leadership than they did on the field of play.

To make matters worse, the national side had not played any international cricket since September before their departure for Bangladesh.

Their series against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan were postponed and a player strike brought the domestic season to a standstill after the cancellation of the domestic T20 competition.

The national team players’ only game time prior to the competition were a handful of domestic matches and warm-up games against Bangladesh A, Hong Kong and Afghanistan.

In fact, the humiliating loss to part-timers Hong Kong during the warm-up matches showed how ill prepared the national team was.

“We didn’t have any momentum at all going into this tournament because we were coming from an industrial action before a World Cup tournament whereas all the other teams had momentum,” Makoni said.

“Ireland was coming from the West Indies where they played competitive matches. They were a much better prepared team than us. All those associate nations were better prepared teams that us.”

“We did not prepare well and we never had the momentum and that’s why we lost. The moment we began to show glimpses of touch as a Test playing nation we were already on our way out and in the end it was out of our hands,” he said.

Makoni said he had instructed the players to return to their franchises to get some match practice in the domestic league as the team shifts focus to the impending visits by South Africa and Australia.

“We have to go back to the drawing board and see where we went wrong. Obviously there are certain issues that need to be addressed and once they are addressed then we have to come up with the way forward. Everyone who was at the World Cup has been given a directive to go and play for their franchises,” he said.

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