HARARE: Interim cricket head coach Lalchand Rajput says he is up for the challenge ahead of his first assignment as Zimbabwe take on Australia and Pakistan in a T20I tri-series.
Speaking at the announcement of the final 17-member squad on Monday 25 June, which was trimmed from a preliminary 22-man contingent, the former India coach spoke highly of the talent in the country, and is keen on taking a patient approach towards positive results.
The 56-year-old Rajput feels the assignment is a challenge that he is familiar with. “As a coach, you like challenges and I think it’s a challenge for me, which I have done with Afghanistan and India when I was appointed the T20 coach and we won the T20 World Cup in 2017,” he said. “It was a challenge with all the youngsters there.
“With Afghanistan, I was there for one-and-a-half years and we attained Test status. There are areas where we need to tighten up, but we’re working on it. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
Zimbabwe convener of selectors, Walter Chawaguta, is optimistic about Zimbabwe’s chances in the tri-series, with a squad comprising a nice balance between youth and experience. The selection panel are yet to reveal who will lead the side, a matter Chawaguta said is still being discussed.
Star names Brandan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Graeme Cremer and Sean Williams have not been included due to the fallout from the ongoing player-board fracas over non-payment of salaries.
When asked whether more players named in the 17-man squad could drop out following the announcement, Chawaguta said: “My assumption is that everyone is available and I’ve got no reason to think otherwise.” Ryan Murray and Brandon Mavuta are in-line to make their debuts if they’re given the nod.
The tri-series begins on Sunday 1 July with the hosts taking on Pakistan. All fixtures will be played in the capital, Harare.
Squad: Cephas Zhuwao, Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Brian Chari, Blessing Muzarabani, Solomon Mire, Tarisai Musakanda, Elton Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor, Tendai Chisoro, Brandon Mavuta, Chris Mpofu, Ryan Burl, Ryan Murray, Kyle Jarvis.