Chevrons play in July

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IT’s exactly four weeks before the Zimbabwe senior men’s cricket team (the Chevrons) go into battle in the Tri-Series with Pakistan and Australia in Harare.
The three nations will play Twenty20 cricket series while Zimbabwe and Pakistan will play in five One-Day International (ODI) matches.
The T20s will be played at Harare Sports Club while the ODIs are scheduled for Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
It will be the Chevrons’ first match after the sacking of head coach Heath Streak, Lance Klusener (batting coach), Douglas Hondo (bowling coach), Walter Chawaguta (fielding coach), Stanley Chiwoza (team analyst), Sean Bell (fitness coach), Steven Mangongo (Under-19 coach), Graeme Cremer ( skipper) and convener of selectors Tatenda Taibu.
Zimbabwe ‘A’ coach, Wayne James was also shown the exit.
After the sackings, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) managing director Faisal Hasnain resigned early last month.
It was reported the Pakistan was under pressure from the ZC board.
After the storm, the dust has settled at ZC and the cricket governing body has made yet another head coach appointment for the Chevrons.
Indian Lalchand Rajput was appointed to takeover the reigns as Chevrons coach.
The 56 year-old, according to ZC, has vast experience in the gentlemen’s game, having coached India, Afghanistan, Mumbai Indians and coaching director at Board of Control for Cricket in India’s National Cricket Academy.
The failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in England and Wales left casualties at ZC.
With such a trail of disaster at the cricket governing body, the contract breaches are likely to cost ZC through lawsuits.
However, since the coaching job has set targets, ZC may get away with it on the basis of non-perfomance.
Media reports say the Indian was reluctant to take the job offer. Rajput was given a three-month contract that might be extended based on results.
However, there are few matches that Zimbabwe will be playing during his initial 90 days.
Zimbabwe has been considered as a coaches’ minefield in cricket. Several coaches have been sacked for poor results in the last two decades.
Rajput joins the list of Streak, Mangongo, Dav Whatmore, Alan Butcher, Phil Simmons, Chawaguta, Andy Waller, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Brown and Geoffrey Marsh who have served ZC in the last two decades.
ZC has tried both local and foreign coaches for the Chevrons job but none seem to have struck gold.
The World Cup qualification has been Zimbabwe’s biggest achievement.
On the international rankings, the Chevrons occupy usually two places from the bottom in all formats of the game.
The new coach will work with Chawaguta who is now convener of selectors together with Prosper Utseya and Kenyon Ziehl.
Each year, there are numerous changes at ZC, either in the coaching department or board, thereby upsetting continuity.
After his dismissal, Taibu pointed out that he was fed up with the cricket governing body.
Each year, ZC introduces strategies they feel can turn around the fortunes of cricket in the country.
Wilson Manase, who was succeeded by Tawengwa Mukuhlani also brought in his changes that were later changed by the incumbent.
Back on the pitch.
The T20 action will be between July 1-6 before ODIs start in Bulawayo on July 13.
However, there is concern the Chevrons may not get ample time to prepare adequately with their new coach.
The Chevrons’ perennial problem of limited game time continues as, after playing the last ODI against Pakistan on July 22, Zimbabwe will be out of action for the next two months.
Zimbabwe will be back on the crease in South Africa for limited over matches.
The Chevrons will tour South Africa for three ODIs and three T20 matches to be hosted at five centres, namely; Kimberley, Paarl, East London, Potchefstroom and Benoni.
The first ODI will be on September 30 in Kimberly.
The second and third ODIs will be on October 3 and 6 respectively.
The T20 action will be on October 9, 12 and 14.

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