ZImbabwe in West Indies 2012-13 February 4, 2013

Zimbabwe cut coaching staff for West Indies tour


Zimbabwe will embark on their first Test assignment in over a year without key coaching personnel. Batting coach Grant Flower, bowling coach Heath Streak and fitness trainer Lorraine Chivandire will not travel to the Caribbean later this month because of a technical structure change made by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).

"After consulting with the players and the head coach on the effectiveness of the current coaching structure which has a head coach, an assistant coach and two specialists a decision was made to streamline the structure to allow for better strategy formulation and communication in camp," Shingai Rhuhwaya, general manager of media and public affairs told ESPNcricinfo.

"While specialist can be engaged for preparations and specialist training throughout the season, the head coach is to have full and sole charge of the national team during tours. The same will apply for the fitness trainer whose primary objective is to ensure that players are fit before they go to tour. The physiotherapist and assistant coach will then play the role of maintenance while on tour."

ESPNcricinfo understands that financial concerns and accommodating more touring players are behind reasons for the decision.

The tour, which includes three ODIs, two Twenty20s and two Tests, starts on February 20 and is head coach Alan Butcher's last in charge before his contract expires. The build-up to the tour has been punctuated with controversy after ZC were unhappy with a selection directive issued by the country's Sports and Recreation Commission which required the entire panel to be former international players. The order has since expanded to include non-ex players as well.

Butcher is hopeful the sideshows will not hamper the team's progress on the tour, although he admits they travel as underdogs. "We haven't played an ODI in more than a year either and that doesn't help. We know it will be tough but we have to stay positive and give a better account of ourselves from a last trip."

Zimbabwe's last full tour was to New Zealand in early 2012. They lost all the matches across every format, including their heaviest Test defeat. It was a major comedown for them after they made a successful return to Test cricket in August 2011 by beating Bangladesh. They also enjoyed a promising run of form at home in series against Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand.

Since then, Zimbabwe's only success came in an unofficial T20 tri-series in June last year which they won after beating a South African XI in the final. It did not do them any good at the World T20, though. Zimbabwe lost both group matches by big margins and handed Ajantha Mendis his best figures of 6 for 8.

Lack of funds and tour cancellations have robbed them of any more cricket. Bangladesh postponed their August trip because of the BPL and Zimbabwe could not host them any earlier then Pakistan also did not tour as scheduled in November. The Bangladesh tour is due to happen this August but there has been no confirmation of that series yet.

By then, Zimbabwe will have a new head coach. Butcher has chosen not to renew his contract because "I have been away from my family for three years," and denied that the administrative issues had anything to do with him not continuing. Interviews were held to choose his successor last week. Flower, current assistant coach Stephen Mangongo and former international batsman Andy Waller, who previously coached Namibia, have applied for the position. Streak has not put his name in the hat for the head job but has indicated he wants to continue as bowling coach.

Although Butcher did not see as much success as he hoped he would, he regards his time with Zimbabwe as fulfilling despite the obstacles. "I've enjoyed it and the players have been great to work with. I cannot fault what they've put in," he said. "I am happy that in my time in charge, we won our comeback Test and the ODI series against Bangladesh and the unofficial T20 tournament. The coaching staff have all worked very hard and I'd say 90% of my time was superb." He has one tour left to raise that percentage.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sami on February 6, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Weaker teams like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland etc deserve to play lots of limited overs games so that tournaments like World Cup and World T20 will look interesting and competitive plus they complain lack of Cricket which in some instance is true. There have been complains by top teams about the overdose of Cricket so it would be ideal if you can somehow bring weaker teams in the spotlight and give them those extra games. Love to see for example an ODI tri series between Zim, Ban and Ire since there is a debate that one is better than the other. Cricket is getting a stiff because of meaningless series especially repeated ones like India-Sri Lanka, India-England, Australia-England etc so there is clearly a problem with scheduling.

  • Shipu on February 5, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    @Htc-Android:- He said 'recent'. Your Sri Lanka team is declining! your team is nothing without your experience talented trio and once they're gone, its downhill for Sri Lanka. Even your youth system is pathetic the future of Cricket. Bangladesh will give you a tough series next month just watch. I want to see Sri Lanka thrash Bangladesh in all these matches by a huge margin otherwise there will be questions. Whoops, Dilshan got out today by a mediocre Bangladesh spinner our players are getting better and more confident good luck for the future :P

  • Sreedhar on February 5, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    muvati11, Excellent point you made. Hope every country board think like this.. Imagine if pakistan have traveled Zimnabew or kenya before this tour they could actually get match practice for the young players they have got and get used to teh conditions more or less similer.

  • Mike on February 5, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    ICC is a joke!, weaker teams deserve to play plenty of limited overs games annually and if we don't see such things then they are clearly not spreading the game. Cricket will just lose fans and interest everywhere except India one day if this continues.

  • dennis on February 5, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Congratulations to ICC for their behavior towards the development of cricket as a sport.Soon it would be in extinction and probably lords ground can soon dedicate one room to stuff up memorabilia .till the time wishing all cricketers to make hay while the sun shines by playin all idiotic leagues in few countries lemme not say around the world or else cricket will become a Global Sport

  • TholletBeura on February 5, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    I think the ICC is only there to regulate and support cricket in India, Srilanka, England, Australia, SA, WI and New Zealand. This has been going on for a long time and to make matters the ICC is always prepared to respond to the needs of the Indians

  • John on February 5, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    The only way Zimbabwe will improve and generate enough revenue is through tours into the country. Then, they can get money from selling TV rights. The problem now is that they can only generate a lot of money if the big nations: India, England, Australia and SA can tour. I wonder why teams that tour into South Africa cannot pass through Zimbabwe on their way to SA. It can help them prepare for SA in almost similar conditions while at the same time giving some game time to Zim. Imagine, the benefits for Zim cricket if every team that tours into SA passes through Zim for a 1 - off test and a couple of ODI's. I think Zimbabwe Cricket should really seek to pursue this. The same goes for Ireland which is a stone's throw away from England.

  • Ahmed on February 5, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    in Zimbabwe things are not always what they seem-there usually is an ulterior motive. Really sad for the players and development of the game.

  • Swami on February 5, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    There is no money to pay for coaches but plenty around for non-working technology.

  • associate cricket fan on February 5, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    @wiseshah. lol. you beat Sri lanka in one game in the asia cup. Then u start to say that Bangladesh have a good winning record against sl. cant stop laughing at ur comments.