Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have appointed Lalchand Rajput as the interim head coach of the senior men’s national team.
By Kevin Mapasure
The 56-year-old is expected to start work immediately ahead of the triangular Twenty20 international (T20I) series involving Zimbabwe, Australia and Pakistan in Harare
Rajput is a highly qualified, vastly experienced and well-respected coach, who was in charge when India won the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007.
Apart from his success with India, he was also Afghanistan’s head coach and led them to Test status.
He coached the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and also worked as the coaching director of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s National Cricket Academy.
He also coached the India Under-19 cricket team.
In June 2016, Rajput was named as head coach of Afghanistan’s national team, replacing Pakistan’s Inzamam ul Haq; during his spell in charge, they defeated West Indies in a one-day international (ODI) and were promoted to full membership of the ICC.
But his contract was ended by the Afghan board in August 2018 and he was later replaced by Phil Simmons.
Rajput played two Tests and four ODIs for India.
He comes in to replace Heath Streak, who was sacked after failing to lead Zimbabwe to the International Cricket Council World Cup finals.
Streak’s divorce with ZC has been an acrimonious one, with the former Zimbabwe captain taking legal action against the organisation as well as individuals.
Following their failure to qualify for the World Cup, attention shifts to the World T20, which will be hosted in Australia in 2019.
Of immediate concern for the new coach is the upcoming triangular series, which precedes a five-match ODI series against Pakistan in Bulawayo.
Last week, ZC appointed a three-man selection panel that is headed by Walter Chawaguta and also includes former national team captain Prosper Utseya and Kenyon Ziehl.