By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) has confirmed the appointment Lalchand Rajput as substantive national cricket team coach.
The 56-year-old former India international player has been in charge of Zimbabwe on an interim basis since June, leading the side in a Twenty20 international triangular series with Australia and Pakistan before facing the latter in a five-match one-day international (ODI).
ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani said Rajput’s appointment was a sign a clear statement of his board’s intent and ambition due to his impressive international coaching pedigree following success with India and Afghanistan.
“We are thrilled to appoint Lalchand as the substantive head coach of Zimbabwe’s senior men’s national cricket team,” Mukuhlani said.
“Lalchand has a wealth of experience and an outstanding track record of success throughout his career.
“He has identified, nurtured and developed some of the best young talent in world cricket, from coaching a young India side that won the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 through to recently moulding Afghanistan into a formidable team that eventually earned Test status.
“His hard-working and passionate approach and his sense of values on and off the pitch make him the ideal person to take us forward.”
Apart from his success with India and Afghanistan, Rajput has also coached the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, while his work as the coaching director of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s National Cricket Academy is well-documented.
As a player, he was a solid opening batsman who played Test and ODI cricket for India.
After missing out on a place at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, ZC has tasked Rajput to rebuild a competitive national side for the next global tournaments.
“We are targeting qualification for the next T20 and 50-over World Cup tournaments and we believe Lalchand has the pedigree and experience to build a young side and help us achieve our goals,” Mukuhlani said.
Rajput said he was honoured to be given the job.
“It is an honour and privilege to work with Zimbabwe Cricket and I am really pleased to be given this opportunity to take this team to the next level, to work hard and ensure we make a difference in the coming years,” he said.
His first assignments as the head coach are Zimbabwe’s limited-overs and Test series away to South Africa and Bangladesh scheduled for September-November his year.
Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza has welcomed Rajput’s appointment.
“I think it is a positive move from ZC. Appointing someone of his experience and stature bodes well for the future of our cricket as he is a really positive coach who brings a lot of positive energy and wants to see positive results for the team,” Masakadza said.
“I have been very impressed with his work ethic and attention to detail. We are in the middle of a training camp where he has really put the guys through their paces.
“We have worked on a lot of specifics and put a lot of time into our games. The boys have responded really well to the rigorous training schedule and we are already starting to see a lot of improvement.”