Zimbabwe cricket captain Chamu Chibhabha has echoed his disappointment at the team's One-Day International (ODI) series loss in the just-ended tour of Pakistan while appreciating the vast positives drawn from the trip to the subcontinent.
Pakistan won the ODI series 2-1 and won the T20i series by a 3-0 whitewash.
The tour was Zimbabwe's first piece of cricket action since March after several engagements were called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Chibhabha refused to use that as an excuse.
"We should have won the ODI series. We played the better cricket for most parts, but Pakistan played the bigger moments better. We had big performances from our young and experienced players and for a team in transition, that's what you want," Chibhabha said in an interview with Standardsport.
"If we work the mental aspect of the game, we can certainly become a formidable force in ODI cricket. The fact we hadn't played cricket in seven months should never be used as an excuse. In fact, we saw it as an opportunity to win games for our country by doing what we love best, that is playing cricket," he said.
With Douglas Hondo as the stand-in coach in the absence of Lalchand Rajput, Zimbabwe recorded a historic win on Pakistani soil following a one-over eliminator in the third and final ODI.
Zimbabwe looked like they would upset the hosts in the first ODI, but Pakistan managed to hold on for a 26-run victory.
Chibhabha underscored the importance of that victory, which may come in handy on the road to the 2023 ICC World Cup.
"The win was very important not only in view of World Cup qualification, but as evidence that we have the skills to match any team on our day.
"If you look at the Super League table, Ireland managed to score points against England. This tells you that the road to 2023 is going to be very tight, who knows it might come to those 10 points we managed to get away from home," Chibhabha said.
"But there are plenty of positives to take from this tour. We had two centurions in [Sean] Williams and BT [Brendon Taylor], you always want to cash in as batsmen once you get a start.
"What can I say about young Wesley [Madhevere] that hasn't been said already? He plays and looks like he belongs to the international stage. (Blessing) Muzarabani summoned all the experience he garnered in county cricket to single-handedly winning us the third ODI.
"In the T20 I felt like we let him down as batters because we didn't put enough runs on the board in all the three games. This made defending such totals very difficult," he said.
Chibhabha also spoke about his poor form during the tour, which saw him come under heavy criticism from local cricket fans.
"In the first game I felt like I was in good nick, but unfortunately I played on to my stumps," he said.
"I sort of went into a shell after that. But the last two games of the tour I went back into the type of cricket that has brought me success at this level and it nearly paid off.
"However, as a captain you always want to lead from the front, it didn't happen on the just-ended tour. This sort of thing happens in international cricket."