Zim Cricket appoints Rajput

HARARE – Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) yesterday appointed India’s Lalchand Rajput as the national team’s interim coach to replace the sacked Heath Streak.

Rajput, a former India opener with two Tests to his name, has previously been in-charge of India’s coaching set-up during their World T20 triumph in 2007.

He has also coached Afghanistan, after having coached Mumbai Indians and serving as the director of India’s National Cricket Academy.  

The 56-year-old will begin work immediately with the upcoming home Twenty20 tri-series against Pakistan and Australia.   

“ZC has named...Rajput as Zimbabwe’s interim head coach. The 56-year-old former India cricketer is a highly qualified, vastly experienced and well-respected coach who was in charge when India won the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007. We wish you all the best!” ZC said in tweet yesterday.

Rajput’s last international assignment was with Afghanistan — he was their head coach when they gained Test status.

In the previous season, he coached Assam in the Ranji Trophy, and then mentored a team in the T20 Mumbai League.

Rajput will replace Streak, who was sacked in March following Zimbabwe’s failure to qualify for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in England and Wales.

Zimbabwe hosted the qualifying tournament but failed to book a ticket to the global tournament following a surprising defeat to Associate side United Arab Emirates.

In the end, the West Indies and Afghanistan booked their places at the tournament.

After the tournament, Streak, batting coach Lance Klusener, fitness trainer Sean Bell and captain Graeme Cremer were all sacked.

Convener of selectors Tatenda Taibu, Zimbabwe A coach Doug Hondo and Zimbabwe U19 coach Steve Mangongo were also shown the exit door.

Streak, Klusener, Bell and Mangongo have all challenged their dismissals and the matter is now before the courts.

Rajput will also have a crisis to deal with as his first port of call after a deadline given to ZC by all centrally-contracted players to be paid their outstanding match fees, bonuses and salaries lapsed on Wednesday.

The players made it clear that will not begin preparations for the forthcoming tri-series against Pakistan and Australia.

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