<
>

Ntini hits out at second-string teams going on Zimbabwe tours

Makhaya Ntini looks relaxed while watching the match International Cricket Council

Makhaya Ntini, the Zimbabwe interim coach, has demanded international teams send their best players to tour the country. According to AFP, speaking on the eve of the first ODI against an Indian outfit so inexperienced that their captain MS Dhoni has more matches under his belt than the rest of the 15 combined, Ntini said: "If you send us a team that is not your strongest team, we're going to put them under the carpet."

Ntini hit out at other Full Members for their reluctance to send full-strength squads to play Zimbabwe, who are ranked below Afghanistan in ODIs and were the only Full Member team not to qualify for the Super 10s stage of the recently concluded World T20.

"We're sick and tired of waiting around for South Africa to send their A team," he said. "We want to compete with the big boys. We're creating a new venture here. We want to make sure that this country gets to play more games, and if you send us a team that is not your strongest team, we're going to put them under the carpet so that they go home and tell people that they need to send their strongest team."

India's interim coach Sanjay Bangar in turn said that his side's "focus is inwards".

"We believe in [letting] our performance speak," Bangar said. "We have a talented bunch of young players. They've done really well in the domestic championships and the India A circuit. We do not want to give too much attention to what the opposition is saying.

"It's [Zimbabwe tours] a great platform for the younger guys. It has provided a launch pad for a number of cricketers - Virat Kohli came here and led India for the first time [in 2013], Suresh Raina came in and then Ajinkya Rahane. We believe it's a very, very important tour for the younger lot. It provides us an opportunity to look at the future stars emerging from the Indian scene."