How will ZC attract a coach?

HARARE - Storm clouds have been gathering over Zimbabwe and her people for a number of years, and it is no secret that foreign interest in this once vibrant country is in decline mode.

From business propositions to sporting appointments, very few people feel suitably motivated to take the plunge and invest their time or money in a very unpredictable environment.

So when it was announced that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) was on the prowl for another head coach, the excited fans would have felt 15 years ago would have been tempered by the knowledge that ZC sadly have very little to offer.

Then, just as we were told that an excitement few months of international cricket lay ahead of us, with pending tours by Sri Lanka and the West Indies, the story broke that once again players had downed tools, or more specifically, downed bats due to non-payments stretching back to last year.

Sadly, this news comes as no great surprise as we have bore witness to several previous incidents which have made the headlines for the wrong reasons, involving players not being paid for months on end.

Fans and the media have been debating and speculating as to who the brave man would be to take up the job as coach, and by all accounts it would appear that former Zimbabwean stalwart Heath Streak has been tipped to take up the roll.

Fortunately, Streak has broad shoulders, so the total of national team coach would suit him as naturally as the talent he once possessed when playing for his country.

Whoever the chosen one is to take over as coach, he would surely have been deeply disturbed by the news that once again ZC find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, with players going on strike, and ZC not being able to raise the funds to get the out of Harare-based players to the training camp.

This was one of the may frustrations that foreign coaches such as Dav Whatmore and Jason Gillespie experienced during their time in Zimbabwe, and, if you have been fortunate enough to read Alan Butcher’s book, more of the same frustrations were expressed as well.

The shortage of cricket balls, the lack of transport and the limited training facilities are all some of the headaches coaches and players deal with on a regular basis.

The upside to all of this is that Streak, who was Zimbabwe’s bowling coach had firsthand experience of the challenges, and would no doubt have a practical way of getting around most of the stumbling blocks.

One area he would want to work on, is trying to keep the players motivated and focused, by changing the venue where they practice, which is Harare Sports club.

Whatmore had big ideas for the team to get away from their constant and boring surroundings and train in different conditions, such as the dryer and hotter conditions of Namibia, where they would also have got match practice by playing against Namibia, but sadly, ZC didn’t see any point in the idea, weather it was due to lack of finances or lack of understanding.

In the past, players would make regular trips to the Streak family farm in Bulawayo, where they would undergo strength and fitness training and team bonding as well.

So getting the former captain back in the system may possibly be the best thing that has happened to Zimbabwe cricket for a long time, but, would Streak really be interested in coming back and getting involved after his previous stint as bowling coach when he was treated in a very disappointing manner? Or will he bury the hatchet and put the love of his team and country first?

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