Kevin Curran dies aged 53

Kevin Curran speaks to the media AFP

Kevin Curran, the former Zimbabwe batsman and national team coach, has died aged 53 early this morning in Mutare. A statement by Zimbabwe Cricket said he collapsed while jogging but the exact cause of death was yet to be determined.

Curran was coach of the Mashonaland Eagles team and was in Mutare preparing for their T20 fixture against Mountaineers on Wednesday, which has now been postponed.

"We are still in shock, Kevin was the epitome of health and we have yet to make sense of this tragic loss," ZC's managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa said. "KC's past and continued contribution to the game of cricket is unquestionable and dates as far back as his playing days up until the phenomenal work he had been doing at Mash Eagles."

"I have yet to meet a man more passionate about cricket in this country," Mash Eagles chief executive officer, Vimbai Mapukute, said. "KC had put his heart and soul into developing our franchise and had great plans for our high performance gym and other facilities... his passing will leave a huge void at Mash Eagles and I feel that I have not only lost a key business ally but a friend as well."

CSA acting CEO Jacques Faul also paid tribute. "It is very sad news," he said. "He is well remembered for his brief playing stint in this country for KwaZulu-Natal and Boland where he always played the game to the best professional standards."

Curran made his international debut in the 1983 World Cup, when Zimbabwe beat Australia by 13 runs at Trent Bridge. In a four-year career that had spanned two World Cups, he scored 287 runs in 11 games with two half-centuries. As a right-arm seamer, he took nine wickets. By the time his country had gained Test status, he had almost completed his 10-year qualification for English residency and decided not to return.

Curran was one of the most effective overseas players in English cricket in the decade from the mid-1980s, scoring 1000 runs in a season five times. Gloucestershire controversially declined to renew his contract at the end of 1990 and he moved to Northamptonshire, where he played until his retirement in 1999.

He served as Zimbabwe's assistant coach before moving west to take charge of Namibia. In September 2004, he returned home as director of coaching at the CFX Cricket Academy in Harare. In August 2005, he replaced Phil Simmons as national coach and held that position till 2007. Within days, he took over as head of Zimbabwe Cricket Academy. He coached the Zimbabwe Under-19 team during the World Cup in 2010. Shortly after taking over as the Mashonaland Eagles coach, he was named in the senior selection panel.