Andy Waller set to become Zimbabwe coach
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is set to announce former international Andy Waller as the new national coach. Waller will begin the job ahead of the home series against Bangladesh, which begins on April 17. He was the preferred candidate from a shortlist that included assistant coach Stephen Mangongo and current batting coach Grant Flower.
The fate of the rest of Zimbabwe's support staff is not known, ESPNcricinfo has learned. Bowling coach Heath Streak has not been informed whether his contract, which expired yesterday, will be renewed and he is not part of preparations for the series against Bangladesh. Neither Streak nor Flower traveled with the team on their recent visit to the West Indies because of a change to ZC's policy on touring parties.
Waller held the role previously, in 2009, when he was coaching manager of Zimbabwe. He had also been in charge of Namibia and the Mid-West Rhinos franchise. His first task will be to reinvigorate the players, as Zimbabwe prepare to host an international side for the first time in 18 months. They play Bangladesh in two Tests in Harare, followed by three ODIs and two Twenty20s, all in Bulawayo. Bangladesh just completed a tour of Sri Lanka, where they shared the ODI series and lost the Tests and the only T20.
Zimbabwe lost all seven matches they played in the Caribbean, which was Alan Butcher's last series as coach. The lead up to the tour had been marred by controversy. Apart from the decision to leave Streak and Flower at home, there was also an intense debate between ZC and the country's sports ministry about a new regulation concerning the composition of selection committees.
In its first proposal, the ministry wanted all selectors to be former internationals, and because the Zimbabwe coach is also a selector it would have ruled out someone like Mangongo. The regulation has been relaxed but it would have had no bearing on the appointment of Waller, who represented Zimbabwe in two Tests and 39 ODIs between 1987 and 1997.
Waller will succeed Butcher, who took over in March 2011 and oversaw Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket later that year, but they could not sustain their positive start. After beating Bangladesh in a one-off Test and an ODI series, Zimbabwe lost at home to Pakistan and New Zealand, were badly beaten in New Zealand and then had a break for a full year before touring West Indies.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent