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Rajput's coaching contract was extended recently in March by Zimbabwe Cricket, but the board has now revamped the support staff.
Houghton had also coached Zimbabwe in the late 90s, and was at the helm during their memorable run to the Super Six stage of the 1999 World Cup in England, following memorable group-stage wins over India and South Africa. Houghton has also had coaching gigs with Derbyshire, Middlesex among various other teams in English county cricket. His most recent coaching stint was with Mountaineers in domestic cricket.
Houghton captained Zimbabwe in their inaugural Test against India in 1992, and scored a century on debut. It was the first of four that he made in 22 Test matches, scoring 1464 runs in total at an average of 43.05. His 266 against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo in 1994 remains Zimbabwe's highest individual Test score.
"We are delighted to be bringing in Dave and we count ourselves fortunate and privileged to be able to appoint such a vastly experienced and highly respected head coach at a time we are looking to improve our on-field performances," Masakadza said in a media statement.
Houghton will be assisted by Lance Klusener who has already rejoined Zimbabwe's support staff as batting coach.
"With Lance having also bounced back as batting coach, we believe we now have a formidable technical team that can push for World Cup qualification and ensure our players put in consistently competitive performances," Masakadza said. "I would also like to thank Lalchand who has been in charge of the team for the past four years, an incredibly challenging period for our cricket."