ZC outline Chevrons plan

28 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
ZC outline Chevrons plan

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) are pulling all the stops to ensure the national senior men’s team qualify for the 2023 World Cup.

They have since intensified their investment into youthful players to make that dream a reality.

ZC, who recently showed faith in Lalchand Rajput by extending his contract by a further two years, also brought back into the fold an experienced hand in Dave Houghton.

The former Derbyshire County player and Zimbabwe’s first senior men’s cricket team captain has been roped in to strengthen the World Cup preparations.

Although Zimbabwe are sitting second from bottom, ZC chairperson Tavengwa Mukuhlani is confident Rajput can build a competitive side for the campaign through gradually infusing young blood into the national team.

Rajput’s rebuilding exercise has been given a thumbs up by the ZC leadership.

“I think he is integrating the players very well. What we need is support from the senior players, because whenever we bring in a young player, it means we will drop one senior player or two, and they need to understand that they came through the same process – that is for the T20,” Mukuhlani said.

“As for the Test side, we are not going to touch it because we want our senior players to lead the way. It is the T20 where we are saying let’s put a bit of energy as we prepare for the future in limited overs.

“I know there has been talk that the board is pushing senior players out, but that is not the strategy, the board is simply saying we need to start the process of integrating young players now.”

He, however, admits that results have not been as pleasing on the field.

“We extended his (Rajput) contract, and we understand the concerns of the fans. They want wins and they have the right to demand such, and it is their right and we are there as an organisation to deliver that.

“But again there is a process in order to deliver that win,” he said.

Mukuhlani said Rajput still has some unfinished business with the Chevrons.

“If you look at our senior players, they are almost the same age – 34 to 35; most of them will not see the next World Cup. They will struggle with next T20 World Cup, to be honest,” he said.

“The reason we brought Rajput in the first place was because of his record with young players. Remember, Rajput won the first T20 World Cup in South Africa with a very youthful Dhoni-led side.

“He earned himself a good record of nurturing young talent into stars and that is what Zimbabwe, in my view, is looking for at the moment. We have got four to five senior players, so how do we create a succession plan.”

The recruitment of Houghton, he added, was part of the process of laying the ground for developing the national team and building a competitive side.

“Remember, Dave and crew were only playing provincial cricket but they kept on winning their World Cup qualifiers and made a mark at the World Cup, so we are talking about someone who has a winning formula.

“There is no doubt that Dave is good at identifying talent, something that we are looking for as we plan for the future.”

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