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Rediff.com  » Cricket » We can pull off a few upsets: Utseya

We can pull off a few upsets: Utseya

September 30, 2006 19:23 IST

Zimbabwe's young skipper Prosper Utseya says his team has the wherewithal to pull off a few upsets in the upcoming Champions Trophy.

"We have always done well in big tournaments like the World Cup. The current team may not have the experience but I think we are very much capable of upsetting the big teams," the 21-year-old Harare-born player said on Saturday.

Zimbabwe were the first team to arrive for the biennial cricket event, starting October 7.

- Champions Trophy schedule

The African nation has to go through a qualifying round involving the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The tournament proper starts on October 15, with India taking on England at Jaipur.

Coach Kevin Curran said a shock victory was what Zimbabwe needs to progress beyond the qualifying stage.

"We need to have two wins from three matches to qualify. We have beaten Bangladesh, and we would like to think we can do it again.

"Of the other two teams, the West Indies and Sri Lanka, we have to beat one of them," Curran, who was part of the Zimbabwe team that played in the 1987 World Cup in Delhi, said.

The Zimbabwe team has an average age of just 21, thanks to the exodus of several senior players due to political and economic crises in the country.

Curran said the players will take confidence from their performance against South Africa in a recent one-day series while competing against the best.

"We will carry what we learnt from playing South Africa, the world's number two side," he said.

"I think we competed well in those three games where the wicket was a bit up and down. In one of the matches, we batted first and then had South Africa 30 for three."

Utseya said the team has the resources to excel on Indian wickets.

"We have got a young leg spinner (19-year-old Tafadzwa Kamungozi) who has shown a lot of potential. Should we need, we can play two spinners with Stuart Matsikenyeri as the first spinner," he said.

The coach, however, was aware of the task ahead of his young wards.

"The West Indies have Brian Lara, and Sri Lanka have Sanath Jayasuriya. That experience cannot come overnight," he said.

"It is going to be a massive learning curve for them, but we have to stick to what we know and compete."

Curran said that as in 1987, fielding will be the USP of the team.

"Fielding has always been our strength and it will be. Back then, we had some class batsmen. We have the talent here too, but we need experience."

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