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Zimbabwe set for major changes

Firdose Moonda

July 11, 2014

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

Brendan Taylor surveys proceedings, Zimbabwe v UAE, World T20, Group B, Sylhet, March 21, 2014
Zimbabwe Cricket are mulling splitting the captaincy across formats © ICC
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Of the many labels that can be slapped on Zimbabwe Cricket, modern, slick and well-functioning are not among them. The administration is caught in a debt spiral, the national team has barely enough fixtures to justify their Full Member status and the domestic structure that appears to be crumbling at the foundations but ZC may put all that aside as they look to implement a major restructure.

The two major areas under consideration are coaching and captaincy. ZC's cricket committee has suggested appointing a director of cricket to oversee all training programs and splitting the leadership role across formats. ZC's board will consider the proposals at a meeting on July 24 and an insider said they believed the recommendations will be ratified.

Practically, that will mean a shift in power in Zimbabwean cricket. Current head coach Andy Waller will likely be elevated to the director position which will leave him to oversee everything from development to the senior side but will strip him of direct authority over the national team, which is where the concerns begin to sprout.

"Theoretically it is a good idea but it should have been done when there were coaches around to choose from and if there was money to pay them," a source close to ZC said.

The dearth of quality in coaches in Zimbabwe, largely as a result of the financial crisis, means there are not many candidates to choose from when it comes to appointing a head coach. Neither Grant Flower nor Heath Streak are around any more after they accepted jobs with Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively. Gary Brent, who was coaching the academy side, did not have his contract renewed and has sought work in another field.

ZC's precarious financial situation also means they will probably not be able to hire someone else to work in the coaching structures. That leaves only Waller's assistant, Stephen Mangongo, who was also Alan Butcher's No. 2, to take over the national team.

Mangongo is a seasoned coach, having come through the ranks at Takashinga cricket club, through which the likes of Tatenta Taibu, Elton Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya were developed and has stood in as Zimbabwe's head coach on previous occasions including a series against Bangladesh.

However, Mangongo is known as a tough task master who has rubbed some players up the wrong way and even had an altercation with a young player last year. "I don't know how the players will respond to Stephen being appointed and being directly in charge," the source said.

The other idea the players may not warm to immediately is a change in leadership. Brendan Taylor has been in charge of Zimbabwe since June 2011, has presided over the Test comeback and wins over Bangladesh and Pakistan. He is a popular captain and has the support of his team although his tactics in managing bowlers have occasionally been questioned. Taylor is also burdened with the responsibility of keeping wicket and being the anchor batsman, which may be prompting the move to ease his load but Zimbabwe do not have too many options for who can relieve him.

Although the cricket committee has not named anyone as a possible leader, Hamilton Masakadza is the obvious, and perhaps even only, choice. He stood in for Taylor when the latter was on paternity leave for the first Test against Pakistan in September last year. He has also captained at ODI level previously albeit only for seven matches between 2008 and 2009 at a time when Zimbabwe were rotating captains with comical frequency. Masakadza is a guaranteed starter and one of Zimbabwe's most reliable batsmen and has the respect of his team-mates but whether he wants to be elevated to the captaincy has yet to be established.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by Charindra on (July 13, 2014, 17:47 GMT)

I really hope Zim becomes decent again, like they were in the late 1990s with the flower brothers and Heath Streak. Cricket needs Zimbabwe.

Posted by grahaam on (July 13, 2014, 16:43 GMT)

Poor Zim A give the initiative straight to Afghanistan...This tour could easily re-arrange certain positions in world cricket..and attitudes towards those that do not have cricket at heart...just the US dollars on offer..

Posted by grahaam on (July 12, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

If it is to be a new coach then it must be a recognized one...all Major countries have coaches who we all know from their cricket backgrounds..Waller actually fits that category...The captaincy should remain where it is ..Masakadza has never demonstrated the desire to do this , Another ZC disaster looming...Afgan will be far more settled and should match Zimbabwe (in Zimbabwe) as they have no such issues in their own organised camp.

Posted by Kinguru007. on (July 12, 2014, 16:05 GMT)

I think Taylor should captain until the world cup since there's only 7 months left for the big stage.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2014, 14:35 GMT)

I think Afghanistan will win a match from Zimbabwe

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (July 12, 2014, 11:17 GMT)

Taylor the batsman is brilliant by Zimbabwe's standards, but his captaincy(&keeping) is easily among the worst in world cricket's history. Hamilton Masakadza is the natural leader of the side, with Chigumbura&Utseya alongside him as those with real authority. Taylor has got zero influence beyond botched bowling changes, and on the contrary commands little to no respect among what should be "his men".

People tend to forget that Brendan Taylor's initial selection as captain was a shock in itself, and few would argue that it wasn't motivated by genuine cricket reasons. Likewise removing Andy Waller from direct charge of the team will serve to rectify an erroneous tradeoff. Mangongo was always the leader to be. England and to some extent the ICC haven't sufficiently cozied up to Zimbabwe&ZC, so the Brendan Taylor as captain plus Butcher/Waller as head coach gamble can be now be abolished.

All formats Head Coach - Mangongo, Test Capt - Masakadza, ODI Capt - Taylor; T20 Capt - Chigumbura.

Posted by Nayan_Bhuyan on (July 12, 2014, 6:31 GMT)

Bring Any Flower as head coach.. Grand flower as batting consultant.. Heath streak as bowling consultant..

Posted by android_user on (July 12, 2014, 2:58 GMT)

sikandar raza should be consider for captaincy

Posted by wapuser on (July 11, 2014, 23:52 GMT)

Nothing will change as long as the current administrators stay in place. The lack of accountability for the drain of talent and finances from within ZC is there for all to see and is a huge shame. Will the ICC intervene? Probably not

Posted by howizzat on (July 11, 2014, 19:04 GMT)

ICC should provide the coach.

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