Kirsten for top Zim cricket job?


India’s World Cup winning coach Gary Kirsten is in line for the top job of Zimbabwe national cricket team coach.

Just days after Peter Chingoka was re-elected Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman and captain Elton Chigumbura quit, coach Alan Butcher could be on his way out, following reports that Kirsten is being approached to take over.

Butcher is in the United Kingdom on holiday, while Kirsten is in Cape Town, South Africa after a successful World Cup. Kirsten has been replaced by former Zimbabwe captain Duncan Fletcher as India coach.

Sources yesterday also indicated England coach and former Zimbabwe skipper Andy Flower was on the radar until he decides to sign a contract extension.

Chingoka, though said, nothing has been communicated to him when called for comment Monday.

“Nothing has been brought through to me as yet,” he said.

ZC managing director Ozias Bvute was not reachable for comment.

Sources indicated emissaries will be dispatched this week to Cape Town as ZC bids to seal a deal before preparations start for the new series of international matches where Australia A, South Africa A, Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand will be involved.

“That’s how things are shaping up now, if ZC is successful, Kirsten will be the new coach. Look, results have not been impressive and we need to get into the Test arena on a background of good results and new confidence,” a source said. ZC elected a new board last Friday with Chingoka being retained as chairman.

Butcher replaced Walter Chawaguta, who had been in charge since 2008 when he took over in February last year.

It had been reported then that former skipper Heath Streak, now a bowling coach, was the preferred candidate, but the board has opted to bring in someone from overseas.

Butcher’s last position was at Surrey where he left after a wretched season in 2008 when they failed to win one championship match and were relegated from the top flight.

He has little international experience having played a single Test and ODI for England as a left-hand opening batsman in 1980.

Convincing Kirsten to come to Zimbabwe will be a huge task as his major reason for not extending his stay in India was to be with his family in Cape Town. He also has an academy there.

“I am going home to spend some time with my family. But I have to consider my future at some time. I have been fortunate to have been offered some jobs but I want to spend time with my family right now,” he told the Times of India during a reception hosted by the President Pratibha Patil for the Indian team at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai after they won the World Cup.

He played 101 Test matches and 185 One-day internationals for South Africa between 1993 and 2004, mainly as an opening batsman.

Kirsten made his Test debut against Australia in Melbourne in 1993. He retired from international cricket in 2004 after crafting a match-winning 76 in his final innings, against New Zealand, the same country he had made history by becoming the first ever Protea to play in 100 Test matches.

After the tour of South Africa, which India drew 1-1 in the Test series lost 3-2 in ODIs, Kirsten announced he would not renew his contract with BCCI because of family commitments, Kirsten often stated that he wanted to spend time with his two growing sons, Joshua and James and wife and three-years away from home had been long enough.

Immediately after the announcement Kirsten was linked to South Africa as their coach Corrie van Zyl had also announced his contract would end after the World Cup as well.