Chris Harris, the former New Zealand allrounder, is set to become the latest international cricketer to take up a coaching assignment in Zimbabwe. Former fast bowlers Allan Donald and Jason Gillespie took up domestic coaching assignments last month and Harris is expected to sign a two-year contract to coach the Zimbabwe Under-19 team. The deal is likely to be confirmed later this week.
"We have been exchanging information and are very close to final terms," Harris told the Press. Harris last played for New Zealand in 2004 but has continued to play domestic cricket for Canterbury. He also captained Hyderabad Heroes in the Indian Cricket League.
Harris was initially unsure about coaching but made the decision to take it up at the international level while playing in England earlier this year. "Eventually I decided this was the path I wanted to go down to stay in cricket and the offer to coach a national youth team was too good to turn down." He had already accepted an offer to be the player-coach for the Burnside-West University cricket club this summer but is unlikely to go ahead with it should the Zimbabwe deal come through.
Zimbabwe's political situation is unstable but Harris was satisfied with the arrangements being made for him by former Zimbabwe player and national selector Alistair Campbell. "I think it's exciting for Zimbabwe to be getting back to international cricket. They have had some tough times but I'd like to be part of that," Harris said.
His coaching assignment with the U-19 team involves preparing them for the next youth World Cup in early 2012. Harris is also likely to play in Zimbabwe's domestic Twenty20 championship league and could offer his assistance to the national senior side.