HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) managing director Alistair Campbell says a platform is being laid down for the team to perform to the best of its abilities at the forthcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand – and there cannot be any excuse for failure.
The former Zimbabwe captain made the remarks yesterday at a press conference to unveil Andy Waller and Walter Chawaguta as batting and fielding coaches for the World Cup respectively.
Fifty-five-old Waller was named batting coach six months after being relieved of his duties as head coach.
Waller was replaced as Zimbabwe coach by Stephen Mangongo last year and redeployed to the post of director of coaching. He returns to the set up following the sacking of Mangongo in December, and Australian Dav Whatmore’s subsequent appointment as new head coach.
He played at three World Cups for Zimbabwe in 1987, 1992 and 1996 as a batsman – will be joined by another ex-Zimbabwe coach, Chawaguta, who was announced as fielding trainer.
Former Test bowler Douglas Hondo is already the team’s substantive bowling coach.
“We are giving them exactly what they want and the preparations they need, so they are no excuses,” Campbell reporters.
“We want to create a no excuses culture as well as raise the playing standards. That’s why they are going two weeks earlier. It’s a ZC cost not an ICC cost.”
Campbell praised the make-up of Zimbabwe’s technical department, saying it now has what it takes to uplift a team whose morale is at its lowest ebb following a disastrous tour of Bangladesh where the African side was whitewashed across three Tests and five ODIs.
“The coming in of Dav Whatmore and Andy Waller, they have experienced the game at the highest level. So we have the expertise. I think it’s fundamental to have people who have been there because in international cricket you get found out quickly. Remember Whatmore has won the World Cup before,” said Whatmore.
Campbell said it was essential to create a viable structure so as to turn around Zimbabwe’s fortunes on and off the field.
During the Bangladesh tour, while working as a television commentator, Campbell warned that cricket in Zimbabwe could collapse if austerity measures were not taken to revive the game, and yesterday he said his aim was to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“It’s fundamental that we get the right processes in place…..When I said Zimbabwe cricket is on the brink I meant we needed to do something,” he said.
“I am glad the board has recognized that we need to put in place tangible structures to make cricket sustainable not (just for) this year, not next year but as I mentioned…2023.
“I want to focus on the 15 and 16 year olds. A lot of coaches who come to coach Zimbabwe tell me ‘I shouldn’t be sorting simple technical issues that should have been dealt with at 13 years.’ So we need to source good coaches for our youngsters. It’s a huge part of our project. It’s not a short term thing.
“We have a long term plan. And I am glad we are starting to do that and as the chairman (Wilson Manase) mentioned, by April the restructuring would have started, and hopeful by that stage we will have the right people in the right positions and we will have a structure that is capable of identifying talent and nurture it.”
Campbell said Zimbabwe’s whitewash at the hands of the Bangladesh was a sign that something had to be done soon.
“There are ramifications of not doing things properly and I was a bit worried at the manner in which we were losing to Bangladesh. I was worried about that going forward to the 2019 World Cup and that we would have to qualify,” he said.
“And if we don’t qualify (to the 2019 World Cup) then suddenly there is less grants from the ICC and less money in the game, it becomes a big problem. So from that perspective I said we needed more former cricketers in the game. The former coach (Stephen Mangongo) thought I was having a go at him. I wasn’t.”
Campbell also revealed that cricket coach Whatmore would be given an extended term after the World Cup.
“What he has seen here, the talent he has seen here has been a bit of an eye opener. He has indicated he wants a longer term engagement with Zimbabwe cricket. He brings a wealth of experience and that’s exactly what Zimbabwe cricket needs at this stage,” Campbell said.
“We don’t want to re-invent the wheel, we want to tweak it. We want the best available knowledge and he provides that.”
Campbell hinted that other people may fall by the wayside during ZC’s restructuring campaign insisting it was all for the good of the game.
“By April we will have a clear working document of what we need to achieve.”
Campbell said two of his biggest hurdles were to win back the trust of the corporate world as well as avail more game time for the team.
“The perception of Zimbabwe cricket amongst corporate, amongst the public is not a very good one. The press don't help when they are writing negative stories. But it’s about winning back their trust. Corporates are willing to re-engage, all they want is accountability."
Zimbabwe are hoping to play New Zealand, Pakistan and India in the 2015 season in full series.
“You have seen it there is a genuine interest here. Zimbabwe A against Canada there were about 3000 spectators for an A game. People are crying out for more cricket. Sponsors will be silly not understand the mileage that comes from that. And they do understand it but because of the perception that Zimbabwe Cricket squanders cash, they are holding back, but that’s not the case."