Zim Cricket name ex-India batsman Lalchand Rajput as new coach

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ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) have named former India batsman Lalchand Rajput as the interim coach of the national cricket side replacing Heath Streak who was sacked last month.

Rajput’s immediate task will be to prepare the national side for the triangular Twenty20 international (T20I) series involving Zimbabwe, Australia and Pakistan in Harare in July.

“Rajput is a highly qualified, vastly experienced and well-respected coach who was in charge when India won the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007.

“Apart from his success with India, he was also Afghaanistan’s head coach and led them to Test status.

“He has also coached the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, while his stellar work as the coaching director of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s National Cricket Academy is well-documented.

“As a player, Rajput was a solid opening batsman who played Test and one-day international cricket for India,” ZC said in a statement on Thursday.

The 56-year-old, who played in two Tests and four One Day Internationals (ODIs) for India from 1985 to 1987, will have the tough task to rebuilding morale within the national side after the disappointing failure to qualify for the 2019 ICC World Cup.

He also joins the set-up when ZC is currently in a contractual dispute with contracted national team players, who have threatened to boycott the upcoming T20I series in protest over outstanding allowances salaries, match fees and bonuses.

The players are reportedly yet to receive their salaries for March and April in addition to being owed match fees for all of Zimbabwe’s games since last July’s tour of Sri Lanka.

Since the Sri Lanka tour, Zimbabwe have played Tests against the West Indies and South Africa, a One Day International (ODI) series in Bangladesh and the UAE (against Afghanistan) as well as the World Cup qualifier matches.

ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani met with the players on the sidelines of the decisive Logan Cup encounter between Mountaineers and Rising Stars at Takashinga Sports Club on Wednesday, where he advised them that they were making frantic efforts to settle their dues.