What makes Zim coaches hot property?

HARARE - Cricket fans nationwide received another crippling blow when the news broke that former captain and bowling coach Heath Streak signed a two-year deal with the BCB [Bangladesh Cricket Board] to take up the position of bowling coach.

This damning news followed a week after Grant Flower relinquished his job as the current batting coach consultant in order to fill the rather large and daunting coach as Pakistan's batting coach.

Although there seems to be a certain degree of confusion as to whether Flower has the job or not, thanks to ongoing squabbles in Pakistan amongst the upper echelons of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Be that as it may, it certainly does raise an interesting debate, one that is worth pondering on.

That debate is, why is it that Zimbabwean coaches have become such hot property?

Most people who follow cricket are aware of two former captains, Andrew Flower, as well as Duncan Fletcher, who left the country and went on to not only find considerably greener pastures, but have also made their mark as highly respected coaches.

Flower enjoyed a five year spell with England that saw an average team become a formidable team, while Fletcher's coaching exploits go back as far as the 90s when he had massive success with teams such as Western Province from South Africa, as well as the English county circuit with various counties.

And if you thought that Andrew Flower and Duncan Fletcher were the only coaches to have a taste of international coaching, please think again.

Trevor Penny, a former Zimbabwean who played for Old Hararians, Mashonaland and who even had a stint in the Zimbabwean Board XI, became a household name in England when he spent more than 10 years plying his trade for the illustrious county side Warwickshire where he played alongside greats such as Brian Lara and Allan Donald.

Penny was fortunate enough to have been coached by arguably one of the finest coaches of the modern era,Bob Woolmer, who had huge success coaching South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

Penny was well known for his brilliance in the field, and some even went on to compare him to the likes of Jonty Rhodes, although that comparison was a little exaggerated in my opinion.

After Penny's playing career had finished, he then did some consultancy work with Sri Lanka, before taking up the position of India's fielding coach.

Another name worth mentioning is former leg-spinner Paul Strang, who now resides in New Zealand where he coaches Auckland.

Former Zimbabwean captain turned coach David Houghton also took his vast experience beyond the borders of Zimbabwe, where he spends his time scouting for talent and then nurturing them in the beautiful county of Derby.

All of these former players turned coaches had a very big part to play in the success of the game both as players and then as coaches, before reluctantly moving on to greener pastures.

This may seem a strange phenomenon considering the size of our country and the little cricket we played in comparison to the major cricket playing nations, and yet it is there for all to see.

Zimbabwe have unquestionably most definitely made a huge impression in the coaching world.

The first observation that comes to mind is that each and every one of these names mentioned were extremely dedicated players, spending hours upon hours in the nets, listening to advice from their seniors and putting it into practice.

Dedicated players naturally become dedicated coaches should they decide to follow that challenging path.

It is also worth mentioning that these players made impressions on the field.

Some not as great as others, but impressions were made never the less.

Pakistan in particular will remember Grant Flower for his obstinacy at the crease where he scored three of his six Test hundreds against the very team he will now be working with.

201* in 1995, 110 in 1996 and 155* in 1998.

Heath Streak's all-round abilities have always been admired by Bangladesh, and after a short but admirable stint with ZC, Streak's ability to motivate players, and his understanding of fast bowling and stamina in all conditions caught the eye of the BCB and gave them no option but to approach the burly Matabeleland rancher, and make him an offer he simply could not refuse.

Although ZC need to be commended for enticing the likes of Grant Flower and Streak to come back to the game and start afresh, they did very little to secure their services.

The reasons have been spoken about on more than one occasion, so there is no need to bore you with the details which have been spoken about and regurgitated at length, and even though the loss of two dedicated and experienced coaches have delivered another blow to an already battered body, questions will always be asked.

Theories will be given and fans will suffer.

*Feedback: sports@dailynews.co.zw.

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