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Masakadza loses captaincy

by Dingilizwe Ntuli
01 Jun 2016 at 06:49hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) yesterday fired senior national team coach Dav Whatmore and stripped top order batsman Hamilton Masakadza of the captaincy just days before the arrival of India for three one-day internationals (ODIs) and two T20 games.

ZC made the decision after a review of the team's performance in the 2016 ICC World T20 held in India where Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the main draw of the tournament after losing to Afghanistan in their final must-win preliminary match.

Whatmore, who had been at the helm of the Chevrons from December 2014, was replaced by his assistant, former South African speedster and bowling coach Makhaya Ntini on an interim basis until a substantive successor is appointed.

Masakadza was sacked as captain across all formats of the game and replaced by his deputy Graeme Creamer in an interim basis.

In more changes, ZC also appointed former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener as batting coach on a two-year contract starting on June 5, while former Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu bounced back to local cricket as the new convener of a revamped selection panel that will include a head coach and his assistant.

ZC said Taibu will also have additional responsibilities in development and high performance as well as assisting in returning former Zimbabwe players to local cricket.

Taibu replaces Kenyon Ziehl, who was fired with his entire selection panel comprising David Mutendera and Walter Chawaguta about two weeks ago following a ZC board review meeting.

The national selectors were axed as part of ZC's on-going restructuring exercise aimed at lifting the local game from the abyss it plunged into more than a decade ago.

Taibu was Zimbabwe's first black captain and the youngest in the history of the game when he was handed his ODI debut at the age of 17 in 2001 even before he played a single First-Class game.

He was appointed captain in 2004, but his 11-year playing career was filled with twists and turns that saw him suddenly retire from the game at the age of 29 to devote his life to the church in July 2012.

The 33-year-old former wicketkeeper/batsman flew into the country from his United Kingdom base on Monday and yesterday watched the national team's practice match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

He told Chronicle Sport that he had returned to help instil a culture of honesty and positivity in local cricket.

The local game, he said, was in desperate need of some direction from both the management staff and players, adding that lack of direction had manifested itself in constant defeats for prolonged periods.

Taibu said he had been in constant communication with ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani over the past year, discussing if there was a way he could be of assistance to local cricket.

"I'm one of the few people that can be trusted by the local whites, Asian and black communities in cricket because I speak the truth. Having been inside and outside Zimbabwe cricket, I've seen the light in a brighter way and what blinded me as a player is now more visible," said Taibu.

He said local cricket's biggest downfall was the "high negative energy" within ZC, which has trickled down to the players.

"I don't know whether it's a country culture or ZC culture. This culture has to change and all other things will fall into place, and I think it can be done because it doesn't take long for you to see the negativity from the players the moment you start a conversation with them.

"I hope to bring better understanding between management and players. What's failing us is that people are not honest with one another. It's better to tell someone outright that they're useless because it gives them a chance to improve. If you speak behind their back and that person hears this message from a third party, they go into defensive and combat mode, making it difficult to address the problem."

Taibu said it takes a person standing on higher ground to lift others up and if one is failing, it means they're also on the ground and can therefore not lift anyone.

He said there was no doubt that Zimbabwe is endowed with talent as all touring teams indicate this, but the negativity has prevented them from realising their full potential.

"The demon surrounding ZC is negativity. If one asks what ZC is known for, there's no answer, but other cricket boards are known for a whole lot of things," Taibu said.

He said he would work towards changing the negativity associated with local cricket and implored ZC to come up with its own way of doing things instead of always trying to follow what other countries are doing.

"We must not always be following how other countries are playing. Other countries play their own way so we must have our own brand, our style of cricket for our game to improve," said Taibu.

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Source - chronicle