HARARE – Zimbabwe cricket interim coach Makhaya Ntini was forced to eat humble pie after his declarations of “sweeping India under the carpet” came back to haunt him.
The second-string touring India side easily coasted to victory during the ongoing Killer Cup three-match ODI series after winning the first two matches.
Despite being made up of mostly inexperienced cricketers, the Asians displayed great maturity in all departments and were disciplined with the bat while the locals were simply poor both in approach and execution.
This morning, both teams meet in the dead rubber final ODI at Harare Sports Club with the visitors determined to complete a series whitewash while the hosts are desperate to save face.
Ntini, who was elevated to the hot seat following the sacking of Dav Whatmore last month, said he does not have any regrets about his pre-series rant against India.
“There’s nothing changed to that. This is a process… when was the last time Zimbabwe played? That’s the question you must be asking. We haven’t got to that position whereby we can be able to conquer what we need to conquer,” the South African bowling legend said.
“We haven’t batted well that we have seen that the bowlers are very good, they are in good form, they bowl in the right areas but there was no score that they can be able to defend.
“That statement still stands and every one of them still believes they can still do it and there’s no change to that.
“I can stick my foot out of that and say we will do it. We have experienced players with us, players that can easily read the game. The position that we were, was a perfect position — 25 overs left and all of sudden we lost two wickets within one over.
“For me it tells you straight away that I think we never respect a good over and that on its own changes the game — the good over where we try to force matters that’s when it changes.”
In order to compete with the dynamic India side, Ntini suggests his side must get the basics right and execute all the fundamentals of the game.
“They need to learn that if a guy is bowling very well they should respect that. 50 overs is a lot of time so those are the things that we need to get to them and understand that they need to have that maturity of being able to read the game and being able to understand the situation,” he said.
“… how did the Indian team bat? They read the situation, they know that if there is a good bowler they respect that and they will wait for the bad ball but we didn’t, we wanted to force matters.”
A change in approach for the locals will be what is required by the disgruntled fans, who abandoned the Castle Corner stands in fury on Monday.