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    Shock defeat by Zimbabwe not a failure: Kirsten

    Johannesburg: The shock defeat of South Africa at the hands of minnows Zimbabwe was not a failure, according to coach Gary Kirsten.

    As fans expressed disappointment and surprise after three embarrassing losses in the unofficial tri-nation T20 series in Zimbabwe that also featured Bangladesh, Kirsten said they had accomplished what they had set out to do.

    "It certainly wasn't a failure - it was a very important tour from our perspective, Kirsten told the The New Age.

    "The purpose of the tour was that we would go there and try out different combinations under match intensity and I think we were able to achieve that.

    "Kirsten said that the goal had not been to win the tournament, as they would then have taken a full-strength team to Zimbabwe."

    Six of the top T20 players were left behind to get some rest after their participation in the recent Indian Premier League before they leave for Switzerland to prepare for the coming English tour.

    "I think some guys came through nicely, so for us it was good to give them that opportunity," Kirsten said.

    Hashim Amla, who took over the captaincy in the absence of AB de Villiers, said it has been a good experience which had added value to his leadership role in the Proteas squad.