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Zimbabwe axe Whatmore, Masakadza before India games

Whatmore

HARARE: The merry-go-round in Zimbabwe’s cricket structures completed another cycle on Tuesday as the board approved a raft of changes less than two weeks before India arrive for a short tour.

Coach Dav Whatmore, captain Hamilton Masakadza and convenor of selectors Kenyon Ziehl were all sacked after Zimbabwe Cricket completed its review of the team’s performance at the ICC World Twenty20 in India in March, where Zimbabwe failed to make the group stage.

Masakadza and Ziehl had been in their positions for less than a year. Masakadza was appointed captain in January following Elton Chigumbura’s resignation, while Ziehl replaced Givemore Makoni as convenor of selectors last July.

Whatmore took over as coach shortly before last year’s World Cup in Australasia and was given a four-year contract last May.

However, performances failed to improve during his tenure, with Zimbabwe regularly losing to Associate nations and dropping down both the one-day international and Twenty20 international rankings.

A ZC media release said that former South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, who has been serving as Zimbabwe’s bowling coach since February, would take over from Whatmore in “an acting capacity until the appointment of a substantive head coach”.

It also said that vice-captain Graeme Cremer would replace Masakadza as captain on an interim basis, while former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener had been hired as a batting coach on a two-year contract.

Former Sri Lanka batsman Marvan Atapattu had filled the same role as a consultant during the World Twenty20.

ZC also announced that Tatenda Taibu had accepted the position of selection chief, almost four years after he retired from cricket at the age of 29 to dedicate his life to his church work.

“He will have additional responsibilities in development and high performance, and will also assist ZC in bringing former Zimbabwe players back into local cricket,” the release said.

Former captain Taibu had numerous run-ins with ZC as a player, most recently in 2011 when he claimed that ZC had “just painted a house that’s about to fall”.

At the time ZC had revamped its domestic structures and was about to return to Test cricket after a self-imposed exile, but Taibu’s words proved prophetic as the organisation subsequently slipped into a spiral of debt from which it has never recovered.

Despite being a Full Member nation with the ICC, Zimbabwe are currently ranked 11th in ODIs, below Afghanistan, and 12th in T20 cricket, where they are also behind the Netherlands.

Zimbabwe recently dropped off the ICC’s Test rankings table because they had not played the required number of matches over the past three years. Their last Test was in November 2014.

A second-string India squad will arrive in Harare next week for three ODIs and three T20Is, which take place at Harare Sports Club between 11 and 22 June.

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