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Cricket: Streak: Players will put cricket first.


HEATH STREAK claims his Zimbabwean team-mates will not let the increased unrest in their homeland distract their efforts in the second npower Test at the Riverside today.

Anti-government protesters in Zimbabwe were subdued with tear gas earlier this week in the latest escalation of ill feeling towards Robert Mugabe's regime.

Streak and coach Geoff Marsh have urged the players to focus instead on improving the performance they gave at Lord's a fortnight ago.

``We have had a trickling of information on what is happening but the guys have been busy with the travelling and the playing and trying to prepare for this Test match,'' saidStreak.

``Obviously there are concerns about what is going on but we are trying to focus and get things right.

``There has been a lot going on in Zimbabwe over the last three years.

``The guys have been pretty good in coping with external issues outside cricket.''

Zimbabwe have named the same XI that played in the drubbing at Lord's,giving the players the chance to redeem themselves.

Two summers ago, the Zimbabweans suffered a similar result in NW8 but fought back strongly at Trent Bridge where they had the better of a rain-interrupted contest, bowling England out for 147 in the second innings.

``We are confident of the side we used in the first Test and I feel that is our best XI,'' Streak added.

``We have made our mistakes and we have to put them right.

``We have to show confidence in those guys to do the job for us. We can't be chopping and changing every time we lose a game.''

This inexperienced side have lost their last eight Test matches and Streak insists they will have to dig deep to be competitive.

``I always try to look at the positives because life is like that,''he added.

``If you dwell too much on the negatives you end up thinking everything is doom and gloom.

``You have to try and lift other people around you. You cannot neglect things when they are bad but you must try and learn from the experiences and highlight the positives.

``If you keep dwelling on the negative aspects of the game this team will go to pot.''
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2003
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