The West Indies' arrival in Zimbabwe last week was completely overshadowed by the hype surrounding the second Test between Zimbabwe and India at the Harare Sports Club.
The West Indies are in Zimbabwe for their first-ever tour since Zimbabwe attained Test status in 1992, and it will be only their second
Test series after Zimbabwe's tour of West Indies in March last year. West Indies won the series 2-0. This time too, the West Indies are playing two Tests.
West Indies manager Ricky Skerritt said they were looking forward to a competitive series against Zimbabwe. "We expect it to be a tight series. Zimbabwe is a very competitive team and they have been doing very well at home. We have a young team so it will be good experience for us and we are looking forward to it.
"The triangular one-day series is also going to be very tough. India is one of the highly rated one-day teams and we have not had a very good record in one-day cricket of late. Zimbabwe is known to be a very competitive one-day team and this leaves us as underdogs. So for us to get into the final will be a great achievement.
"We lost more games than we won in the last one-day series. In Australia we got into the final but we struggled to do that. We beat Zimbabwe but again it was not easy. We then had a home series against South Africa and again we did not do well. They beat us 5-2 in the seven-match one day series after we won the first match.
"But it was valuable experience for us. We have a lot of young players who have not had a lot of one-day matches. Our bowling attack is the worst affected as it is very inexperienced. And for the guys to handle pressure against sides like India and Zimbabwe will be a very good test.
"Zimbabwe's Test record has not been that impressive. They are, after Bangladesh, the newest Test-playing nation and the victory over India on Monday was a very good win. They have had a very good run at home this season. They are getting better, producing more players, and producing a more competitive Test team. We are going through a rebuilding phase and they have just come out with a very good win against India in the last Test. Our series against Zimbabwe will be very competitive.
"I wouldn't want to single out any players for special mention. Obviously the more senior players have established themselves, the captain and the Flower brothers. Zimbabwe has a well-balanced team, improving all the time so we will take them as a team and not as individuals."
Captain Carl Hooper also spoke about the series against Zimbabwe. "It's going to be a very good series with Zimbabwe playing some good cricket at the moment. They have just beaten India in the Test to draw the series. The tri-series will be close too and I think Zimbabwe are a very good one day-side as well as India. We expect to give a good account of ourselves.
"The series against South Africa was a good one for us. They (South Africa) are second only to Australia in the world. We are rebuilding the side and we don't feel under any pressure at all to win here in Zimbabwe. We have a young side and it will take a while for them to come through.
"We are here to play Zimbabwe as a team and we are not going to single out any individual players for special attention. We are just going to play some good cricket over the next couple of weeks."
Squads for the tri-series:
West Indies: Carl Hooper (capt), Ridley Jacobs, Christ Gayle, Daren Ganga, Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Wavell Hinds, Cameron Cuffy, Reon King, Corey Collymore, Kerry Jeremy, Neil McGarrell, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Mervyn Dillon.
Zimbabwe: Heath Streak (capt), Guy Whittall, Andy Blignaut, Alistair Campbell, Stuart Carlisle, Dion Ebrahim, Tatenda Taibu, Grant Flower, Travis Friend, Brian Murphy, Mluleki Nkala, Dirk Viljoen, David Mutendera.
India: Saurav Ganguly (capt), Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S.Laxman, Hemang Badani, Samir Dighe, Debasish Mohanty, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Reetinder Sodhi, Harvinder Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Dinesh Mongia, Virendra Sehwag, Ashish Nehra
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