Houghton’s batting headache

21 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
Houghton’s batting headache

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE cricket coach Dave Houghton remains a worried man days before the Chevrons play the ICC World Cup qualifiers, which the country is hosting.

The national cricket team hopes to qualify for the World Cup in India later this year.  But the team’s underperforming batting department is cause for concern.

Zimbabwe — together with Sri Lanka, West Indies, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Oman, Nepal, the United States and the United Arab Emirates — will battle it out for the two remaining slots for the 2023 ICC World Cup.  “My concern is that we do not have depth in the batting department,” Houghton told The Sunday Mail Sport.

“You literally can’t find the depth in batting, and that is something we have to address, not just now but for the next few years . . . even if it means bringing in specialist coaches, particularly for batting.”

The former Zimbabwe captain believes there are not enough batters coming through the ranks to replace the ageing contingent.

“We have to start producing more batters. Look at our side in the next three to four years, we are going to lose senior batters — Craig (Ervine), Sean (Williams), (Sikandar) Raza. They are all coming to the end of their careers . . . but in the next couple of years, who is going to replace them?”

Zimbabwe will face Sri Lanka, Nepal, the US and Scotland in Group A of the qualifiers.

And Houghton wants the Chevrons to win the tournament.  “I want to win the tournament, but it is hard because there are some good sides coming here,” he said.

“It is a challenge that I am facing.”

The Chevrons coach opines that Sri Lanka, Ireland and West Indies will pose the biggest threat to Zimbabwe’s ambitions.

“We are going to take it in stages.

“The first stage is that we are in a group of five teams and we need to come in the top three of that, and that shouldn’t be a problem for us,” added Houghton.

“The second stage is that we need to end up in the top two . . . but I think it’s a process that is not daunting for us because we are playing at home and we have crowds rallying us, and we know our wickets inside and out.”

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