'I enjoy coaching more than I enjoyed playing'

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket coach Alan Butcher has revealed he gets far more satisfaction from coaching than playing, saying he has enjoyed a far much fulfilling career after retiring as a player.

The former England Test batsman, a stylish left-hand opener who was strong off the back foot, revealed that winning the Test match against Bangladesh on Zimbabwe’s return to the longer version after six years of self-imposed exile was the greatest moment in his cricketing history.

Zimbabwe won the only Test match by 130 runs at Harare Sports Club.

“Aah, that was one of the best feeling I have ever felt in my cricket career that dates back to 1971 when I made my debut,” Butcher told the Daily News on Sunday.

“It was a fantastic feeling and a fantastic performance by the team. I think we played really good cricket throughout all the five days to earn our victory.”

Englishman Butcher took over the reins from Walter Chawaguta in February 2010 and has been in charge for four Test matches, winning one and losing three.

Butcher, who captained Surrey and Glamorgan in the County Championship, believes that he should have won at least three of those Test matches.

“Overall we could have won three of those matches but I think we have to look at the positives,” he added.
“I don’t think many people would have backed us as being favourites at tea time on the fifth day to win the Test match against New Zealand last year.

“I’m not sure if too many people thought we would beat Bangladesh in the first place but I think the reality was that people thought that was beyond our capability.”

Butcher’s tenure has not been spared of worst moments too.
The 58-year-old mentor reckons Zimbabwe’s 82-run loss to Sri Lanka at the World Twenty20 in September this year was his lowest ebb.

Sri Lanka made 182 runs for the loss of four wickets before right arm off break Ajantha Mendis grabbed six wickets to restrict Zimbabwe to 100 runs all-out.

“The lowest moment probably would be the T20 against Sri Lanka. I felt we had prepared pretty well and to have someone get six wickets against you never feels good, I think that was really disappointing.”

The other sad chapter of his coaching career was losing first Zimbabwe black captain Tatenda Taibu who retired to concentrate on a gospel mission.

“That didn’t help and the sad thing really was that he (Taibu) was still approaching his prime and still had a lot to offer Zimbabwe Cricket,” Butcher said.

“He felt his life needed to go a different direction and you have to respect those decisions, but he was a good guy overall on and off the field, someone whom every coach wouldn’t hesitate to give a go in the team.”

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