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Zimbabwe's new British bowling coach ready for battle

by Staff reporter
11 Oct 2022 at 06:02hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE'S new bowling coach Steve Kirby seems to read from the same book as head coach Dave Houghton as the Englishman appears to have settled quickly in his role in the national cricket team that is currently in Australia for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

The 44-year-old, who is in charge of the bowling unit, believes Zimbabwe has enough talent to cause massive upsets at the 16-team tournament that begins this weekend, if they can continue to play aggressive and fearless cricket that has been promoted by Houghton in the last few months.

Zimbabwe are returning to the T20 World Cup for the first time since 2016 and are one of the eight teams that begin the campaign in the first round where they compete to qualify to the prestigious Super 12 stage.

Kirby was recommended by Houghton, who he previously worked with at Derbyshire in England. He believes the understanding they struck in England will be key for Zimbabwe in their quest for transformation.

Asked how he was looking forward to the ICC T20 World Cup, the 44-year-old former fast bowler said: "Massively, I have worked with Dave a few times and obviously during my time at Derbyshire. So I know how he works, I know how he keeps things.

"We are all about to try and make sure that all the lads go out there and enjoy themselves; go out and express themselves.

"There is no fear of failure here, we just have to go out and enjoy change of company, play some really strong and aggressive cricket and see how it goes."

Kirby, a former first-class cricketer, believes his experience as player and coach will come in handy for the Chevrons. Until his latest appointment, he has been serving as bowling coach at Somerset, one of the sides that he played for during his long and successful county career in England.

"I am all about making close relationships with my players and making sure when they know you have got their back and they know you care about them; then they are no longer lacking in any challenge.

"So it's about me building relationships with the players. That's what my cornerstone and my philosophy is all about really — to make sure that we can enjoy each other's company, work hard for each other.

"I am just really excited to see if I can impart a little bit of knowledge here and there but most importantly to support the team and help them to enjoy their game," said Kirby.

The Englishman arrived at a time when the Chevrons had begun a revival after going through a dip in form in the last three years.

He said the Chevrons needed to continue working hard.

"I'm just privileged to be here, to be honest, working with unbelievable lads. I have only been here for three-four days but the talent that I have seen already is massive.

"It's not surprising for me if we keep making stats wherever we go. So that is what I will be expecting, for us to stick together as a group, work together on bowling partnerships, which I know we will.

"Like I said, the talent is there, I am really excited. So let's go out there and have a really good time and hopefully we will cause some upsets," said Kirby.

Kirby was part of the delegation that left Harare on Friday and arrived in Melbourne in the early hours of yesterday. Zimbabwe are set to play their first official warm-up game against Sri Lanka today at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and then round off their preparations against Namibia on Thursday at the Junction Oval. The team will shift base to Horbat, Tasmania, where they are expected to get their T20 World Cup campaign underway against Ireland next Monday.

Zimbabwe will take on the West Indies two days later and round off their first-round action against Scotland on October 21.

The top two teams from Group B will join the Super 12 stage, along with the top two teams from Group A which features Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands and Namibia.

Eight teams have a bye in the first round and these include hosts and defending champions Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa. They all begin at the Super 12 stage.

The Chevrons received a timely boost after their top bowlers Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara, Wellington Masakadza were cleared fit after shaking off from injuries.

Muzarabani said the Chevrons are focused on their primary target of qualifying to the Super 12 stage.

"First of all, I am really happy to get the opportunity to go there but mostly I am looking to win the first three games and hopefully we are going to qualify (for the Super 12 stage) that is my focus right now," he said.

"I am not really looking at any of our opponents. I just want to take it game by game. I am not really looking at it to say this team is tough. I am just going to take all the teams the same. I have been working hard behind the scenes and hopefully I am going to perform very well.

"The team has been working hard behind the scenes also and I am happy that we have got a lot of wins especially after the qualifiers. But I am just hoping that we are going to carry on, keep winning. The atmosphere in the change room is looking good. So hopefully we are going to put on a good show."

Source - The Herald
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