Zimbabwe news February 8, 2013

Zimbabwe Cricket defends coaching decision

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has defended the decision to cut support coaching staff from tours, saying it was based on recommendations made the country's cricket committee. The change to the technical structure was proposed and accepted at a meeting on October 5 last year, to which captain Brendan Taylor was party.

Earlier this week, Taylor made known his disappointment on the decision, which means Grant Flower and Heath Streak will not travel to West Indies, and called it a "step in the wrong direction." ZC reacted to his statements with "concern," especially over the insinuation that Taylor was not consulted because they say he was involved in the process.

They attribute the reasons for not having the batting and bowling coaches and fitness trainer travelling with the team as an attempt to try and streamline the structure. ZC also said it resulted in mixed messages to the team.

"The recurring theme was the differences the coaching staff have, the divisions in the team as a result, and their reservations about a coaching staff of that size," Shingai Rhuhwaya, ZC's general manager of media and public affairs told ESPNcricinfo.

The cricket committee, who at the time included Alistair Campbell, Dave Houghton, the late Kevin Curran, Cyprian Mandenge and Freddy Kapuya discussed a new coaching structure which was debated at a ZC board meeting in November. The suggestion was accepted and adopted at that meeting.

The recommendations state that the technical team structure will consist of the head and assistant coach, an analyst, a physiotherapist and a manager who will be appointed on a tour by tour basis. "The head coach should be given the opportunity to make an input on the appointment of the rest of the technical staff, taking into consideration the status of the contracts of the current members of the national technical staff," and a further point added "specialist consultants should be engaged on a needs basis."

Taylor posted a message on Facebook pointing out the importance of having specialist coaches, particularly Flower, on tour. He cited their experience and knowledge as being important to any chance of Zimbabwean success.

His outburst will not have gone down well but ZC do not look likely to take any action against the captain. A source close to the situation said he had been "spoken to," about his statement while ZC have only asked for his co-operation.

"We understand that he would prefer to have the batting coach there but we trust that he understands the need to try a different system, especially since he was part of the feedback that suggested a change was in order," Rhuhwaya said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent