NATIONAL team coach Alan Butcher is facing competition for his job at the helm of the senior national cricket team from his lieutenants Grant Flower and Heath Streak.
Report by Kevin Mapasure Sports reporter
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is looking for a new coach as Butcher’s term nears expiry.
Butcher’s contract expires on April 1 2013 and his post has since been advertised by ZC whose policy is to open it up to everyone when the incumbent’s contract is about to run out.
Butcher will have to reapply if he wishes to continue in the post where he has presided over a Test win and a one-day international (ODI) series win against Bangladesh, among other memorable results.
Sources have indicated that the Englishman is lining himself up for another contract with ZC, while his assistants Streak (bowling), Flower (batting) and Zimbabwe A coach and national team assistant Steve Mangongo are all hoping for elevation.
Efforts to get a comment from Butcher were fruitless yesterday, but the sources said the coach believed he had managed to transform Zimbabwe into a better side since he came in and was confident some memorable results which saw victories over India and Sri Lanka in ODIs, as well as good performance in the Tests at home against Pakistan and New Zealand, can win him another term.
While speculation was rife that Butcher had stepped down, ZC maintained that it was their policy to advertise the post once the national team coach’s contract expired.
Part of the advertisement reads: “Zimbabwe Cricket wishes to advise that the position of national team coach will become vacant on 1 April 2013, and the position of U-19 team coach became vacant on October 1 2012. ZC is, therefore, inviting applications for the positions of national team coach and U-19 team coach.
“Alan Butcher can reapply for the post. The board’s policy is that when a contract expires the vacancy has to be re-advertised.”
Apart from Streak and Flower, Butcher is likely to face competition from other international coaches.
The new coach’s first assignment would be against Bangladesh, who tour Zimbabwe for two Tests and five ODIs in April.
Butcher will lead Zimbabwe in his last assignment on his contract when Zimbabwe tours the West Indies at the beginning of the year where they will play two Test matches, five ODIs and two Twenty20s (T20).
The last time Zimbabwe played in the West Indies they managed a T20 win, added to an ODI win before they lost the series 4-1.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is lining up an array of Bangladesh players in next March’s franchise T20 championships.
The tournament has been sponsored by Stanbic Bank in the last three editions held between September and October.
This time it has been moved to March and more international stars will be signed by local franchises.
Bangladesh, who tour Zimbabwe the following month, are likely to provide the larger chunk of the foreign contingent.