How Mukuhlani is transforming ZC

HARARE - After completing a memorable coup that saw the return of ex-Test captain Brendan Taylor and speed merchant Kyle Jarvis, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairperson Tavengwa Mukuhlani has pleaded for patience.

With these two marquee cricketers returning to the national team, the entire nation will be looking for immediate results on the pitch especially with the impending West Indies tour.

Mukuhlani believes ZC is doing its level best to try and lure back experienced players plying their trade elsewhere and all that is needed for now is to help the team build towards the journey to the 2019 World Cup scheduled for England and Wales.

“My plea is that this team, this current crop of players what they need is support and not criticism,” Mukuhlani told the Daily News on Sunday.

“I’m not saying they shouldn’t be criticised but I don’t think they plan to lose, I don’t think they go out there to lose. They do want to win in every match they play.”

On the coming on board of Taylor and Jarvis, Mukuhlani said he hopes the team will be able to consolidate on their availability and continues to grow into a formidable unit.

“Obviously, we are now a stronger tea than we were when we went to Sri Lanka and we as an association hope that this signals the beginning of the return for others,” he added.

“We look up to try and hook up other potential national team players playing in different leagues around the globe.

“The coach, convener of selectors and the managing director are seized with the issue in terms of linking up and open negotiations with players who are willing to come back and play for their country.”

The ZC board chairperson has managed to build a winning team around himself by bringing in Tatenda Taibu to be the chief selector while former Test captain Heath Streak is the coach.

Former ICC executive Faisal Hasnain is now the new ZC managing director but putting all these chess pieces in place was no easy feat for Mukuhlani.

“It’s a long journey; first I had to convince the guys to come and be an important part of the process,” he said.

“It wasn’t quite easy but in every one of them the quality that was common throughout was the passion they had for the country for those who have been with the team before (Taibu and Streak) and their love for the country.

“We all have different backgrounds and beliefs but when it comes to cricket we all speak the same language and it is a relationship built upon trust and mutual respect and most importantly we can all work together and it is from this that we are witnessing positive transformations within our game and I believe that this is just the beginning the real work hasn’t begun considering the zeal, determination, passion and dedication in each and every one of them.”

Mukuhlani is also hopeful that the recent relaxation of change of citizenship rules by the ICC can also help Zimbabwe’s quest to lure back as many players as possible.

The current rule states that a player can wait three years having played for another country if they are willing to return to their country of origin and in those three years the player in question should be resident in the said country he or she wants to represent.

This may apply to other talented players who have chosen to play international country with other countries such as Zimbabwean-born Gary Balance who is now playing for England, Tom Curran also with England and Collin De Grandhomme who is with New Zealand.

“We have been very open with our approach when we came on board in 2015 in that we said we wanted as many people as possible who are willing to give a hand to the game be they players or administrators both current and former because our belief is that everyone has something to add to the process,” he said.

“We accept criticism as long as it is well guided and constructive criticism we take it because we are a public office and open to scrutiny.

“We try to do what is best for the organisation and the country in our day to day discharge of duties.

“When we came in people spoke about the need to bring in experienced players and we managed to bring in Taylor and Jarvis for now which shows that we do listen and value what the stakeholders out there say about our game.”

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