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ZC back Lalchand


By Kevin Mapasure

ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) have backed underfire national team coach Lalchand Rajput, who presided over defeats in all formats against Bangladesh on home soil in a tour that ended on Sunday.

The Bangladesh debacle came after Zimbabwe were whitewashed by Pakistan in a two-match Test series as well as the one-day international (ODI) series.

Zimbabwe’s chances of making it to the 2023 World Cup finals in India as an automatic qualifier dwindled following home defeats in the ODI series against Pakistan and then lately Bangladesh, and this has triggered calls for ZC to sack the technical team led by Rajput.

But ZC have come out in the Indian national’s defence, arguing that the team has improved under him and they expect results to improve soon.

ZC managing director Givemore Makoni said he was pleased to see Zimbabwe competing against a strong Bangladesh side.

He said Zimbabwe would have done better had they fielded all their seasoned players, like Bangladesh did.

“I don’t think we should be blaming the coach for the results. If anything, we did well because we managed to compete in most of the matches,” Makoni said.

“We fielded a very young side and they pushed Bangladesh all the way. Most of the matches could have gone either way. If you look at it, of late we have been competing much better.

“Before we would play five matches and we could suffer heavy defeats in four and maybe compete in one. It’s not the case anymore. In the ODIs we competed and in the T20s, all of them could have gone either way.”

He said the absence of batsmen Sean Williams and Craig Ervine affected the team, while Sikandar Raza was still trying to get back to full fitness.

“Bangladesh had all their seasoned players. They had (Mohammad) Mahmudullah, they had Tamim (Iqbal) and they had Mushfiqur (Rahim). We were without three of our best batsmen and we had youngsters in there. I tell you if we had Williams, Ervine and Raza, all fit for the ODIs, we could have had a different outcome,” Makoni said.

“We are happy with what the coach is doing. Our youngsters are getting there, we just need to turn a corner and we will start getting the good results. Of course, the recent results do not help our quest to get an automatic spot at the World Cup, but I think we are in the right direction.”

Zimbabwe lost the lone Test match by 220 runs, the first ODI by 155 runs, the second by three wickets and the third by five wickets.

In the T20 series, it was a little closer, with Zimbabwe losing the first match by eight wickets before they won the second by 23 runs, while a five-wicket win by Bangladesh broke the hearts of the young home side.

Zimbabwe rested Brendan Taylor for the T-20s. Taylor had mustered 173 runs in the Test match and had the highest score between the two teams, while Chakabva had the highest tally in the ODIs with 164 runs.

Young Wesley Madhevere shone in the T-20 series.

Zimbabwe’s next challenge will be against Ireland away from home mid next month, where they will play three more super league matches and will be looking to put some points on the board.

  • Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMapasure


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