Zimbabwe in West Indies 2012-13 February 6, 2013

Taylor unhappy with cuts in coaching staff


Zimbabwe's captain Brendan Taylor has labelled it a "step in the wrong direction" that coaching support staff will not travel with the team to the Caribbean for their series against West Indies later this month.

A change to the technical structure of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has resulted in smaller touring parties from now on. As a result, batting coach Grant Flower, bowling coach Heath Streak and fitness trainer Lorraine Chivandire will not travel with the side but will be involved in their pre-tour preparations. Zimbabwe have not played a Test or ODI since their tour of New Zealand in January and February 2012 and will be short of match practice.

"It's a massive concern not having Grant, Heath and Lorraine with us for the upcoming tour to the West Indies," Taylor said on his Facebook page. "For me personally as a captain and a batter, and I can speak on behalf of the others in the side, we are taking steps in the wrong direction by doing this."

Taylor was particularly worried about the absence of Flower, who was playing with the team until September 2010, and has since been in charge of the batsmen. Flower's dedication and experience, Taylor said, will be missed.

"We will never have a guy like Grant Flower ever again as a batting coach and this is how he is being treated. His work ethic is second to none. He is qualified as a level 4 coach (can't get any higher). I recall times where he has thrown to the guys from 9am through to 5pm for weeks on end. You might say that is his job, but no one will do it better.

"The bit of success that myself and others have had over the past couple of years, I put that down to Grant Flower. People are saying the preparation should have been done prior to the tour, that's correct. But preparation on tour is vital too, let alone their knowledge, advice and their experience that could be shared on a daily basis."

Despite Taylor's anxiety, he promised to lead the team as best he could but called for ZC to reconsider its new policy. "In saying this, all we hope is to do everyone proud and sincerely appreciate your support. Let's hope changes are made," he said.

When the country's sports minister, David Coltart, quoted the message, he asked Taylor whether the post was originally his. Taylor responded in the affirmative and said he "felt I had to say my view to all people. I am very concerned."

Coltart later told ESPNcricinfo: "I am concerned to note that although Zimbabwe Cricket state that they had consulted the players prior to making this decision it appears as if they did not, at the very least, consult the captain. Be that as it may I think that all measures possible need to be taken to build a cohesive spirit within the team in the build up to the tour to the West Indies, and I encourage Zimbabwe Cricket to bear that in mind in all the decisions they make.

"Given the concerns raised by the captain, concerns which the captain states are shared by the rest of the players, I trust that Zimbabwe Cricket will take their views into account and review this decision in the best interests of both cricket and Zimbabwe. This tour is not just about cricket but about the positive branding of Zimbabwe as a nation. For that reason it is imperative that Zimbabwe Cricket always act in the national interest."

Taylor is one of the four Zimbabwean players currently at the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Charles Coventry and Hamilton Masakadza are the other two who are a part of the squad to tour West Indies, while Elton Chigumbura was dropped from the national side. Although the tournament ends on February 19, a day before Zimbabwe's only warm-up match before the ODI series, the players will not leave the BPL early. They will fly directly to West Indies in time for the first ODI on February 22.

The tour is Zimbabwe's first full tour since their trip to New Zealand and is Alan Butcher's last as head coach. His contract expires in April and he has chosen not to reapply for his job. Flower is one of three candidates who were interviewed to replace Butcher. Assistant coach Stephen Mangongo, who is going on the West Indies tour, and Andy Waller, the former national batsman who coached Namibia, are the other two contenders for the job.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kerrie on February 8, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly with Taylor. It's a wrong headed decision for a sports team with varying disciplines to travel without specialised coaches. Would one head coach be able to address and assess the technical variations on each individual batsman/ bowler? Come on ZC!

  • Paul on February 7, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    Correspondent says Charles Coventry in squad for West Indies, he isn't, but certainly should be! What a sad state of affairs Zim cricket remains in! Feel sorry for talented guys like Taylor and Masakadza! One step forward in 2011 but massive steps back since

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Stupid decision and as a captain Taylor has every right to voice his thoughts. It is well documented that the cricket administrators are not the most level headed but really this is nonsense. This should have been planned and BUDGETED for, there's just no excuse. How is the team expected to do well when off the pitch the brown smelly stuff is hitting the fan.

  • TholletBeura on February 7, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    It confirms how Zim Cricket has gone to the dogs. I think ZC is now far much worse administered than all the sporting boards in the country including ZIFA. I feel sorry for Brendon Taylor and I know it wasn't easy for him to come out and boldly speak his mind like that on these new disturbing developments. Other teams are in the process of increasing their technical teams for instance England recently appointed Ashley Giles as the new coach for the ODI squad and they clarified that Andy Flower was to remain the overall head coach with Graham Thorpe bin his bating coach. the same was done to Kirsten, coaching responsibilities were given to his assistant but he retained the overall head coach title, remained with the squad together with his bowling coach (Allan Donald

    Judging from our past performances Zim cricket team needs a technical team that is hands on and should comprise of the following if not more: 1) Head Coach, 2) Batting Coach, 3)Bowling coach, 4) Fielding Coach

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Taylor probably won't get disciplined and will certainly go to WI. Taibu didnt seem to have been disciplined after his announcement before the return to test. So BT will get away with it.

  • sahir on February 7, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Sad to see..After reading this article, i reminded myself the wonder zim team in '99 wc with johnson,flower bros,campbell,murray,carlisle,olong,streak..these ppl still in memory the way they beat Ind&SA close to beat Aus as well..Looks like we'll never see players of this class again..ICC must do something to make cricket alive again in this country. thier job is not just to allocate the funds but also has the responsibility of doing the groundwork again..

  • Justin on February 7, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    It's unfortunate that Taylor couldn't have made those comments behind closed doors rather than air his dirty laundry in public. Unfortunately there will have to be a disiplinary hearing which will lead to either Taylor walking away from Zimbabwe altogether or result in at least his omission from the touring squad to the West Indies. I see this being a repeat of the Taibu situation, only in this case if Taylor walks away from the Zimbabwean national team he probably won't come back. As much as I would love to see a competitive and healthy Zimbabwean cricket team on the international stage in all formats of the game, I can't see it ever happening. There is just too much political infighting behind the scenes, they don't have the money or the facilities or the playing depth and the quality players they do have are either going overseas or falling out with the administrators or both. If you are going to perform onstage you need to get properly organised offstage first!

  • John on February 6, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    I am sad to say that this shows one more reason why Zimbabwe should not be playing test cricket. To be a international cricket nation, you need a squad of players who are capable of playing at the highest level (many of the present team would not make a first-class team in other countries), but moreover an infrastructure capable of maintaining a team on the national stage. It is not their fault. Look at the population (and how many of that population get to play cricket at a young age).

    It seems to me that it would make much more sense if Zimbabwe were a first-class (not international) team within South African cricket. In fact, Rhodesia (I know it is indelicate to mention the name....) played in the Currie cup before independence. Rhodesians could play for SA if they were good enough (the great Colin Bland). This makes much more sense to me. The only reason it stopped was politics which dictated that SA be embargoed but Zimbabwe was deemed OK. Now the two could re-join.

  • Graham on February 6, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    Indeed Gurram you may be correct about Taylor not going, but he personally owes Zim Cricket nothing and has a career in cricket without Zim, he is constantly admired and invited to take part in cricket elsewhere, The fact that David Coltart has had a say in the matter means that Zc will be very unlikely to reverse their decision, no matter how correct his comments are. Taylor unhappy , Butcher leaving, Flower and company not invited to tour in their important roles, leads one to believe that Zim Cricket is in a very fragile situation.