“Australia is now in the past.”- Interim coach Andre Coley is focused on achieving a lot this year.

Phil Simmons, who has been the head coach of the West Indies team for the past few years, resigned from his position at the end of December last year. After that, CWI named Andre Coley as the interim coach of the regional team for the next two tours.

Accordingly, Coley is positive about the upcoming matches, and Brian Lara is there to support the team.

New interim West Indies coach Andre Coley believes there are enough recent positives for West Indies’ humbling exit in the first round of last year’s World Twenty20 in Australia.

That was by losing the Test series 2-0, including a 419-run defeat in the second Test against Australia.

Before those setbacks, West Indies had won at home against England and Bangladesh and Kohli will focus on that ahead of the two-Test series in Zimbabwe starting on Saturday.

“Australia is now in the past. As a team, there have been many positive results over the past 18 months and we want to focus on achieving much of the same in the year to come.”

“We are looking forward to playing a brand of cricket that will position us to achieve this outcome.”

West Indies will be hoping for a series win in Zimbabwe as the hosts prepare for their first Test in 18 months.

Zimbabwe have enjoyed a recent revival, with former captain Dave Houghton resuming the role of head coach. Houghton’s arrival has led to a more positive outlook for Zimbabwe, which won a T20 series and drew an ODI against Ireland last month and managed to lure former England batsman Gary Ballance back to his native country.

Ballance made his international debut for Zimbabwe against Ireland and is set to make his Test debut against the West Indies after switching allegiance from England to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe director of cricket and former captain Hamilton Masakadza told The Associated Press that bringing in Gary Ballance was the right decision.

“Gary Ballance is an experienced cricketer. His inclusion in the side is invaluable. He has gelled very seamlessly in the side. He is sort of the right player we needed in the side. We look forward to him doing big things for Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe enters the fray without the services of Test captain Sean Williams, who is suffering from a finger injury. All-rounders Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl will also be missing from the red-ball series after being allowed to go overseas to play franchise T20 cricket, while the experience of Craig Ervin and Gary Ballance will come in handy.

Raza-and-Burl Image Courtesy: ICC

However, Ballance will need to make up for the absence of key Zimbabwean batsmen for the series.

Coley’s first foray in charge of West Indies appears set to rely on some old heads, such as 34-year-old fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who didn’t play when West Indies lost heavily against Australia but has been recalled, and fellow quick Kemar Roach, who is also 34. At 26, Alzarri Joseph is the youngster in that pace trio.

They will find Bulawayo’s traditionally low bounce and slow pitch a challenge, but Gabriel and Roach have 130 experience if they reunite in the bowling attack for the first Test, as expected.

The West Indies squad also has one of the greatest players in cricket after Brian Lara was hired as the team’s performance advisor starting with the Zimbabwe series.

Zimbabwe and West Indies are set to face off in the longer version of the competition for the first time since 2017 at the Queen’s Sports Club in Bulawayo, with the first five-day match being played from February 4-8. The second match is scheduled to be held at the same venue from February 12 to 16.

Zimbabwe have played against each other 10 times since 2000, and the first clash between the two in Test cricket was in March 2000 with Zimbabwe.

The match was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Tobago. Zimbabwe were set a target of just 99 runs and a batting line-up of Andy Flower, Neil Johnson, Murray Goodwin, and Alistair Campbell were bowled out for 63 runs in 47 overs as the West Indies won by 35 runs.

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