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Zimbabwe taught lesson as future sits at crossroads

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

(Reuters) - Zimbabwe have described their losing return to the test arena after a 14-month hiatus as a "massive disappointment" and know their future potential is at a crossroads after two heavy defeats in the West Indies.

Captain Brendan Taylor said his inexperienced side had much higher expectations before setting off on their Caribbean tour but return home having also lost all their international limited overs encounters.

The defeat in Barbados was their first test action since New Zealand thrashed them by an innings and 301 runs in January 2012.

Still, Zimbabwe hoped to do better than lose by nine wickets in two-and-half-days before West Indies wrapped up the second test in Dominica by an innings and 65 runs in around the same time.

"It's been massively disappointing. We have been taught a proper lesson," Taylor told reporters in Roseau after the tour came to an end on Friday.

"It hurts to be in this position but the West Indies were a far better side than us."

Zimbabwe ended a six-year break from test cricket two years ago but played four single tests over 19 months before taking on the West Indies.

It was their first two-test series since India toured Zimbabwe in September 2005 after which a player dispute over political interference in team selection led to a rapid decline in their fortunes.

They have returned a far cry from the doggedly competitive side of the 1990s and face a re-examination of their test status at home in a two-match series against Bangladesh next month.

Only the performances of pace men Kyle Jarvis - who took five wickets in the first innings in Bridgetown - and debutant bowler Tendai Chatara could be classified as positive.

"The seamers can hold their heads high and hopefully carry some momentum into the Bangladesh series but a lot of us need to go home and have a good think and then try to execute better in quiet a few areas," the 27-year-old Taylor added.

"We can only learn from this, we are a side that will definitely try to rectify a few things."

Just how they will prepare for the Bangladesh series remains unclear.

Coach Alan Butcher has departed at the end of his contract.

Taylor was critical last month of a decision to omit several key support staff from the Caribbean tour party, including batting coach Grant Flower and bowling coach Heath Streak.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Mark Meadows; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com +27828257807 Messaging mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130323/zimbabwe-taught-lesson-future-sits-at-crossroads