Rush for Zim cricket coaches
Harare – Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower led the way by guiding England to Ashes success and, it appears, more countries are beginning to appreciate the specialist services of Zimbabwean cricket coaches with Heath Streak and Grant Flower now joining the bandwagon.
Fletcher, who is now in charge of India, became the first coach to guide England to an Ashes series win in 18 years after their 2-1 triumph over Australia.
That victory saw Fletcher being conferred with an OBE and was soon granted British citizenship, five years after his application, as England celebrated a golden period in their cricket which also saw them win away series in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa.
Another former Zimbabwe skipper, Andy Flower, guided England to three Ashes series wins and became the most successful coach, in English cricket history, before he was forced to step down following a disastrous Ashes tour to Australia.
Andy remains in part of the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Zimbabwean expatriate cricket coaches’ community has now been boosted by the arrival of Streak, another former captain of his national team, who has been appointed specialist bowling coach of Bangladesh.
Streak worked in a similar role for the Zimbabwe national team.
“Former Zimbabwe Test captain Heath Streak has been appointed Specialist Bowling Coach of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB),” the BCB said in a statement that was posted on their official website this past Monday.
“Streak, 40, is one of Zimbabwe’s most acclaimed cricketers and had also performed the role of bowling coach of the national team after his retirement.
“He is Zimbabwe’s all-time leading all-rounder with 4933 runs and 455 wickets in international cricket.
“Announcing the appointment of the specialist bowling coach BCB’s media committee chairman Jalal Yunus said: ‘Heath Streak’s experience and record speaks for him. He has played 65 Tests matches and 189 ODIs and as a coach he has worked with some top bowling coaches in the international arena. He has told us that coaching was his passion and we really appreciate that kind of desire.’
“Yunus also informed that Streak has agreed a two-year term with the BCB during which he will commit 450 days based on the schedule of the Bangladesh team. He will primarily work with the national side and is expected in Dhaka in the first week of June.”
Streak said he was relishing the prospect of working with the Tigers.
“I look forward to the challenge of working with the Tigers and thank BCB for the opportunity.
‘It is exciting for me to be back into the International coaching arena again. It is my passion to coach at an elite level and I hope I can bring my experience as a former player and coach to the Bangladeshi bowlers.
“I look forward to teaming up with the new coaching staff and mapping the future for this exciting team.”
Former Sri Lanka batsman Chandika Hathurusingha was named as head coach of the Tigers earlier this month.
On Sunday Streak opened the Heath Streak Multi-Sport Academy in Bulawayo with Zimbabwe’s Sports Minister, Andrew Langa, officially opening the facility and also pledging government’s support to the project.
Streak wants his academy, upon completion, to be as good as the famed South Africa High Performance Centre in Pretoria.
“While the centre concentrates on the sport of cricket, the inclusion of other sporting disciplines is an acknowledgement that the diversity of our citizens’ sport choices has to be catered for,” Langa said at a ceremony graced by his predecessor David Coltart.
“It is also a fact that the variety of state-of-the-art facilities will provide the development of a wholesome sportsperson.
“I congratulate the developers for including even swimming, gym and various ball games. It is this inclusiveness that makes this academy a unique innovation.”
While everything appears set for Streak, both at home and in his foreign adventure, the same cannot be said about Grant who was appointed batting coach of turbulent Pakistan recently only for his appointment to run into political turbulence.
“We have completed the signing of Grant Flower as batting coach for two years starting from August,” a Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman told the world recently, indicating that Grant was expected to join the national team in August head of their tour to Sri Lanka.
Grant was scheduled to work in a coaching set-up headed by former Pakistani bowling great Waqar Younis.
Mushtaq Ahmed was named the team’s spin bowling consultant.
But the High Court in Islamabad restored Zaka Ashraf as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board and ruled that all the appointments made by the board led by Najam Sethi were null and void.
Moin Khan, who had been named as chief selector and manager, Younis as head coach, Ahmed as spin bowling coach, Grant as batting coach and Zaheer Abbas as principal advisor fell by the wayside.