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It's an honour to captain the West Indies cricket team anytime I'm asked, and therefore, when invited to do so for the upcoming tour to Zimbabwe, I readily agreed to serve in that capacity.

I have always stood up to and enjoyed challenges and I think this series will be a great opportunity for me to continue in that vein and I will definitely try to make the best of it for the team's benefit. It will be important to motivate the players, to ensure we play to our potential and deliver the maximum output in every match, starting with the first one-day international versus Zimbabwe tomorrow (Friday).

I'm well aware that leading West Indies to victory over England in the one-day international series in England last summer would certainly have influenced the selectors' decision to appoint me as captain for this assignment. It's a position I don't take lightly at all but, at the same time, I know that I need to maintain a calm frame of mind and not put too much pressure on myself. Overall, I am confident that I am capable of getting the job done and of handling the increased responsibility, particularly regarding on-field tactics.

Captaincy of an international cricket team, especially one that's endured mixed results in recent years as we have, is the kind of test that builds character. I expect that this experience will give me a lot more courage and even greater belief in myself and will be a positive step in my continued development - both on and off the cricket field.

I'm quietly looking forward to this encounter and optimistic about the team's fortunes as well as my own.

Returning to Zimbabwe - I left Jamaica on Saturday while most of the touring party flew from the Caribbean on Sunday - is special for me and evokes several fond memories of past success and celebrations. It was the scene of my maiden Test century in July 2001 (175 at Queen's Sports Club in Bulawayo) and some good one-day knocks too.

Naturally, I would love to pick up the rich batting form which I have enjoyed over here on previous tours. However, personal exploits - while very important - will be secondary to team goals. I cannot stress enough that we must not take Zimbabwe for granted. They can beat the best of teams on their day and the last thing we need is to fall victim to a bad case of complacency against a talented unit which has nothing to lose in front of their home crowd.

We in the West Indies have the ammunition - including batting newcomer Brenton Parchment who has been in the reckoning for regional selection for a while - to defeat this opposition. Now, we just have to execute our plans and take our chances in batting, bowling and fielding.

And I will be aiming to lead by example.
 
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