Former international appointed August 17, 2005

Farce as Curran replaces Simmons as Zimbabwe coach

Cricinfo staff

Kevin Curran: premature announcement? © Getty Images
Kevin Curran has been confirmed as Phil Simmon's replacement as Zimbabwe coach, hours after he leaked the fact to reporters. If the on-field performances of Zimbabwe of late have bordered on the farcical, the off-field dealings of Zimbabwe Cricket in the last day or so over the position of national coach has come close to matching it.

For several hours the board refused to answer media enquiries, but after the conclusion of the Bulawayo Test, Ozias Bvute, ZC's managing director, finally confirmed the news. "We asked everyone involved with the team to be critical of their part. We expected a sea-change in the second match," he said. "As custodians of cricket in Zimbabwe we have to be accountable."

The handling of Simmons's dismissal was dreadful. Rumours had been circulating for several days that he was being lined up for the sack, and these escalated yesterday when Curran was spotted at Queens Club. Curran then told reporters that he would take over before next week's one-day series. All the while, Simmons was still officially in tenure.

To add insult to insult, the press release that ZC finally issued was dated Monday, August 15. That is likely to have been the date the decision was taken, as Peter Chingoka, the board chairman, and Bvute were both at the ground for the first day's play, and both subsequently left. Chingoka is now in South Africa for the Afro-Asian Cup.

Curran, who played 11 ODIs for Zimbabwe, was their assistant coach before taking charge of the Namibian national side for a spell, returning home in September last year to take over as director of coaching at the CFX Cricket Academy in Harare, as well as looking after the Zimbabwe A and Under-19 sides.