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October 3, 2010
Alistair Campbell, the Zimbabwe selector, has said that he wants Grant Flower to play the 2011 World Cup and is confident the younger batsmen in the squad will benefit immensely from playing with one of Zimbabwe's most experienced cricketers.
Flower, 39, made a shock international return more than six years after he last played for Zimbabwe by being included in the squads for the tour of South Africa next month. Campbell, however, said Flower's return would be assessed on a case-by-case basis as the batsman himself had concerns about his fitness.
"The agreement we have is that we'll just play it tour by tour and see where he's at," Campbell told Cricket365. "He says he's got a few niggling injuries and the like, but he's committed to this tour [South Africa] and for our domestic Twenty20 tournament, and then we'll play it by ear from there. I wouldn't say he's got a couple of years, but I would dearly love him to play up to and including the World Cup - that's always been my aim."
Before he was recalled as a player, Flower was set to be the Zimbabwe's batting coach but his comeback was triggered by his performance for Essex during the 40-over tournament in England, where he scored 527 runs at 65.87. Campbell also said the experience of playing with Zimbabwe's younger cricketers would help Flower when he embarks on a coaching career.
"It's not easy - you don't find many player-coach roles that do work - but the thing in this role is that he's not the head coach, he's just the batting coach," Campbell said. "I think it will be a really good start for his coaching career if he can be at the front line with some of those youngsters and get to know how they react under pressure. Also just to be that wise old head on the field, which we seriously need at the moment. Particularly with guys like [Brendan] Taylor, [Hamilton] Masakadza and [Tatenda] Taibu, I just think that they will feed off him and respond to him being out there."
Flower was one of Zimbabwe's leading players during his 12-year international career, in which he played 67 Tests (3457 runs at 29.54) and 219 ODIs (6536 runs at 33.69). In 2004, he became one of the key players to leave in an exodus following Heath Streak's removal from captaincy. He is the latest of several high-profile players who have become part of Zimbabwe cricket this season. Fast bowlers Allan Donald and Jason Gillespie have taken domestic coaching assignments, and former New Zealand allrounder Chris Harris has been put in charge of the national Under-19 team.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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