Zim cricket coaches charm the world

HARARE - Zimbabwean cricket coaches continue to make headlines on the international scene despite the current state of the game at home.

Heath Streak, Zimbabwe’s all-time leading all-rounder with 4933 runs and 455 wickets in international cricket, was yesterday appointed the Bangladesh specialist bowling coach on a two-year contract.

While the local game continues to be in the intensive care unit due to lack of funding and few incoming tours by the top Test playing nations, it seems Zimbabwean coaches are still a hit across the borders.

Earlier this month, Streak’s former teammate in the national team, Grant Flower was appointed the Pakistan bowling coach.

Although Grant Flower’s appointment has been declared ‘null and void’ by a Pakistan High Court ruling handed out last week, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s interest in his services is an endorsement to local cricket coaches.

Streak and Grant Flower join a growing list of experienced Zimbabwean coaches that have gone on to take up roles with various Test playing nations.

The list is led by Duncan Fletcher, the former Rhodesia and Zimbabwe captain, who recently guided India to a World Twenty20 victory.

Fletcher made his mark when he led England to their first Ashes series victory over Australia down under in 2005 in 18 years.

Upon his departure for India in 2007, Andy Flower stepped into the England coaching set up to deputising Peter Moores before eventually landing the hot seat in 2009.

Andy Flower was a hit when he took over the Three Lions leading them to back-to-back Ashes series wins in his first two years in charge of the team.

The former Zimbabwe captain also led England to lift the ICC World T20 trophy in the West Indies in 2010.

Another local who has made a mark coaching on the international stage is Zimbabwe’s first captain Dave Houghton, who is now coaching Somerset in the English County cricket.

Houghton, who began his County coaching career back in 1994 with Worcestershire, has also had successful stints with Derbyshire as their batting coach before joining Somerset.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) general manager in charge of cricket affairs, Trevor Mutangadura said the export of local coaches is an approval of ZC development programmes.

“We are happy with the attention that Zimbabwe cricket coaches are getting around the world, because it means that there is something that ZC is doing right,” Mutangadura told the Daily News.

“You will be aware that our development programme has won several national awards, and is widely acknowledged.

“Heath as you know was no longer a ZC employee, his post having fallen away as recommended following a review of our national coaching structure.

“As for Grant, he still has a contract with ZC and has been updating us on developments. We would rather speak when we have tied that up with him.”

Although all these experienced coaches continue to leave the country and work abroad it has impacted negatively on the local game.

Zimbabwe desperately needs all the skilled coaches working with upcoming cricketers to ensure that the country has a strong national team to compete with other Test playing nations.

However, the ZC hierarchy believe that if local coaches go and work abroad they will one day return to Zimbabwe better equipped to help the local game.     

In a recent interview after Grant Flowers appointment by the PCB, Freddy Kapuya, ZC board member and cricket committee chairman said:

“We should not view it as a loss for the nation. It is a promotion because he is going there to learn some skills that he will in turn bring back home at a later stage hence it’s good for the country.”

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