Will ZC get it right?

HARARE - The position for head coach of the Zimbabwe cricket national team has yet again become available, and speculation has been running rife as to who the new boss will be.

Already names such as Gary Kirsten, Heath Streak and even, Andy Flower’s names are in the melting pot, though a quick call to the relevant authorities quickly snuffed out any idea of Flower taking over as head coach.

So, what type of coach do Zimbabwe require to carry them over the threshold of childhood into the real of world of cricket? Because in the last six years we have had them all.

From a kind, honest gentleman who babies the team, and allowed their fitness and all-round discipline to slip, to a loud-mouthed bully, who ranted, raved and belittled the entire team at any given opportunity.

Then we had a coach whose shelf life had expired, and once again, players were allowed to pretty much do as they pleased.

It’s a tricky situation Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) find themselves in, because the current crop of players need to be monitored.... Well, to a certain extent.

None of the players are really prepared to put in the hard yards in the off season, which often leads to players getting injured or simply being unfit.

At the same time, you certainly don’t want a coach who makes players feel like they don’t want to be there anymore, so a well-balanced coach is what the team needs. Should ZC be able to acquire the services of Kirsten as the report suggests, it would be one promising step in a better direction.

Kirsten is a people’s person through and through, and his track record speaks volumes of what he is capable of achieving, provided he has the right tools to work with, such as a willing administration which understands the ins and outs of cricket, and will let the coach get on with his job, and not interfere.

Kirsten led India to World Cup glory in 2011, and then took South Africa to the top of the Test rankings in 2012, so his ability to get the required results is undeniable.

But, would Kirsten, a coach who is still classed as the number one coach in world cricket want to coach a team that plays a handful of international matches per year in an environment that is very prickly to say the least?

And would ZC be able to meet Kirsten’s needs?

Another name in the melting pot is former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener who is currently Zimbabwe’s batting coach.

Other than his heroics as a devastating lower order batsman, who single-handedly won a number of ODIs for South Africa, we know very little about this shy and soft-spoken man.

He had a stint with the South African franchise, the KwaZulu Natal Dolphins as head coach, and would undoubtedly be wanting to add more substance to his CV.

Unfortunately, there is also talk of him doing work in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and ZC would surely be wanting someone who would be able to commit fully and not half-heartedly, which brings us to our next contestant, former captain and bowling coach Heath Streak.

Streak has made it clear that he too would be very interested in coaching his former national team, but, like Klusener, he also has IPL obligations to fulfil.

Another name which springs to mind is Grant Flower, whose heart lies with ZC, and always has done, despite the shoddy treatment both he and Streak received from ZC back in 2013 when Zimbabwe toured the West Indies.

All of these names mentioned are true professionals in every sense of the word.

They have played the game at all levels, and performed consistently at those levels. They have coached high profile teams, and have got the required results to back up their performances on the field.

Although approachable, they also have very high standards that they set themselves and they would expect the same standards from the players, as well as the powers that be.

Sadly, the perception ZC give the public and indeed the cricketing world, is that by appointing a high profile coach, all is well in the land, while we who love and serve the game know that it is far from well.

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