July 25, 2001

Rackemann: Disappointed by First Test but unable to extend contract

Zimbabwe national coach Carl Rackemann has ruled out extending his contract with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union beyond October. This follows his agreement with the union to extend his one-year contract, which was due to expire at the end of July, to October. This will cover the tours by South Africa and England to Zimbabwe.

"My situation is that my agreement with ZCU finishes at the end of July and my problem in terms of carrying on with the team is that I am unable to give to Zimbabwe cricket a full-time commitment. This is because of my farm and other business interests in Australia.

"Just being away for this amount of time is becoming untenable. To continue to do it is stretching things past the breaking point.

"So with that in mind I have told ZCU of my situation. I was all along available to continue until mid-October after the South Africa and England tours, but had ZCU had a replacement coach in place in April he would have taken over. But the replacement coach has not been appointed yet, so right from the start I said I would be available by continuing until after England.

"So in the case of their failing to appoint a new coach by the end of the England tour, I will not be able to stay. I cannot do Sharjah, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which follow immediately after England.

"It's a very difficult decision to make because I have enjoyed working with the team very much. A big part of me would have loved to stay but I can't do it.

Rackemann also expressed his disappointment at Zimbabwe's humiliating innings and 176-run defeat to West Indies in the first Test at Queens Sports Club inside four days.

"The first Test was a hell of a disappointment to me and the whole team. We really wanted to win the toss and bat first, which we did. We batted and managed to get ourselves out, and once we had only 155 on the board on such a good batting wicket, our game was pear-shaped after that.

"If you have a good first innings total, you will have something to work on for the rest of the game. Not having that affects your game plan, how you bowl, your field placements and the amount of pressure you need to put on your opponents.

"And you expect the opposition to have some good partnerships along the way. But every time they lose a wicket while still behind your good first-innings total, then pressure is always on them.

"We were unable to put pressure on West Indies at all because we only had 155 on the board on a very good batting wicket. So we must turn that around.

"We managed to lose that first Test against India in Bulawayo last month and went on to win the second Test in Harare to square the series. So we must now set our sights on Friday and get some runs on the board so that the bowlers have something to bowl at."

Rackemann, who is now part of the national team selection panel, said that he did not expect major changes to the side which played in Bulawayo.

"The first change will obviously be of Stuart Carlisle with an injured finger. The selectors haven't sat down yet to discuss their options. It's difficult for me to predict. We have to see what the wicket is looking like.

"But the chances are that perhaps Carlisle will be the only change. We are just going to get those players who played in Bulawayo to play better cricket, which they can do."