NATIONAL cricket team coach Andy Waller is relishing the prospect of coming up against compatriot Duncan Fletcher, when the Zimbabwe-born coach tours with the Indian cricket team next month.
Report by Daniel Nhakaniso
Waller, who will make his debut as the national team coach during the five-match ODI series against India said it would be a special feeling for him as he played his first match for Zimbabwe under Fletcher.
Fletcher, who led Zimbabwe to a famous victory over Australia in the 1983 World Cup, has been at the helm of the Indian team since 2011 and before that was widely credited with the resurgence of the England team during his tenure from 1999-2007.
“Actually, my first game for Zimbabwe was under Duncan Fletcher so it will be a special feeling for me personally to play against him in my debut as Zimbabwe coach,” said Waller, who played two Tests and 39 ODIs.
“I’ve only met him once since then and that was when I was the coach of the Namibian team and he had come there with the England side.”
The 53-year-old, who is affectionately known as “Bundu” said having been in camp for the past two weeks, it came as a relief when India confirmed they would go ahead with the tour.
“It definitely is good news that India are coming. When we heard that they might be putting the tour on hold it was a worry for us because you don’t want to be putting in the hard work and later realise that it was all for nothing. From a financial side it’s also great that the big team comes to Zimbabwe because of the TV rights,” he said.
Waller said he had been impressed by the work ethic and positive attitude shown by his players during the national team camp which has been ongoing since May 27.
“My first impressions about the team for the last two weeks have been quite positive. It’s been basically all on fitness and some fielding work.
“It’s been difficult for the boys because I’ve pushed them really hard, but their attitude has been positive which is good because I believe there is no substitute for fitness for an international cricketer.
“The boys have got stuck and I think I’ve really brought the guys together. We have about four to five weeks to prepare for India and hopefully by then, we would have done the work that is required.”