Zim Cricket crisis deepens


NATIONAL cricket team captain Brendan Taylor yesterday voiced his concern against Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)’s decision to leave out key coaching personnel behind when they embark on a month-long tour of the Caribbean later this month.


Taylor, who is currently playing in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), spoke out against ZC’s omission of batting coach Grant Flower, bowling coach Heath Streak and fitness trainer Lorraine Chivandire from the travelling delegation.

In a statement on Facebook, Taylor said he felt an obligation to have his views heard on the matter.

“I felt I had to say my views to all the people. I’m very concerned,” said Taylor. “It’s a massive concern not having Grant (Flower), Heath (Streak) and Lorraine (Chivandire) with us for the upcoming tour to the West Indies.

“For me personally as captain and batter, I can speak on behalf of the others in the side. We are taking steps in the wrong direction by doing this,” Taylor said.

Taylor, who has been on top of his game in the BPL, said the Zimbabwean team needed the services of batting coach Flower, given the very limited time it will have together before the month-long tour.

The 27-year-old aggressive batsman seemed to suggest that the local cricket’s governing body had overlooked Flower’s valuable input in ensuring that the team’s batsmen were well equipped ahead of matches.

He also credited his recent form and that of other players in recent matches to Flower’s contributions.

“We will never have a guy like Grant Flower as a batting coach and this is how they are being treated. His work ethic is second to none. Qualified as a level four coach (can’t get any higher), I recall times where he has thrown himself to the guys from 9am through to 5pm for weeks on end.

“You might say that is his job, but no one will do it better. The bit of success that myself and others have had over the past couple years, I put that down to Grant Flower. People are saying the preparation should have been done prior to the tour, that’s correct! But preparation on tour is vital too, let alone their knowledge, advice and their experience that could be shared on a daily basis. Let’s hope changes are made!” Taylor added.

Surprisingly, Taylor’s comments come when ZC suggested that they had made prior consultations on the omission of the three with players and the head coach before making the decision.

ZC general manager of media and public affairs Shingai Rhuhwaya told Cricinfo: “After consulting with the players and the head coach on the effectiveness of the current coaching structure which has a head coach, an assistant coach and two specialists a decision was made to streamline the structure to allow for better strategy formulation and communication in camp.

“While specialists can be engaged for preparations and specialist training throughout the season, the head coach is to have full and sole charge of the national team during tours. The same will apply for the fitness trainer whose primary objective is to ensure that players are fit before they go to tour.

The physiotherapist and assistant coach will then play the role of maintenance while on tour.”

The tour, which includes three one-day internationals, two Twenty20s and two Tests, starts on February 20 and is head coach Alan Butcher’s last in charge before his contract expires.

The build-up to the tour has been overshadowed with controversy after ZC’s refusal to comply with a selection directive issued by the country’s Sports and Recreation Commission which required the association’s selection panel to be made up of former national team players.

The directive has since been expanded to include non-ex-players as well.