AFTER giving them an ultimatum to step down by 3pm on Friday, Zimbabwe Cricket have sacked its entire coaching staff following an unsuccessful World Cup qualifier campaign.
The captain Graeme Cremer was another high-profile casualty with reports in the Zimbabwean press suggesting Brendan Taylor will take over leadership of the team.
In addition to the national coaching staff – head coach Heath Streak (pictured), batting coach Lance Klusener, bowling coach Douglas Hondo, fielding coach Walter Chawaguta, fitness coach Sean Bell and team analyst Stanley Chioza – all other coaching staff, including the Zimbabwe A coach Wayne James and Under-19 coach Stephen Mangongo have been booted out. Convener of selectors Tatenda Taibu has also stripped of his position.
In an email sent to Streak on Thursday evening, Zimbabwe Cricket MD Faisal Hasnain wrote: “Further to our discussions, please give your technical staff (and yourself included) until 3pm tomorrow to formally resign. After which time the technical team can consider themselves dismissed and relieved of their duties with immediate effect.”
Streak and his staff refused to resign, on the principle that they did not consider their overall work a failure – Zimbabwe’s ODI win-loss percentage under Streak was 37.5%, significantly more than the 22.6% Zimbabwe achieved between April 2014 and October 2016, when Streak took over – and decided to let the board make their decision.
Streak conveyed his disappointment in a brief conversation with ESPNcricinfo. “For everything I have given Zimbabwe Cricket, as a former player and a coach, to be given an email with no full explanation or even the courtesy of a hearing is something I didn’t expect,” Streak said. “I understand that every coach’s tenure will come to an end, but we should at least have been given the chance to give our comments and ask some questions. I was looking to take the team to the World T20 in 2020.”
Streak is the only one with alternative employment at the moment. He was appointed the Kolkata Knight Riders bowling coach for this year’s edition of the IPL.
The mass purge is mostly a result of Zimbabwe missing out on the 2019 World Cup, after a three-run defeat to UAE in the final Super Six match, but will no doubt also be related to finances. Zimbabwe Cricket is muddling through another monetary crunch, only made worse by the fact that they will not be participating in the World Cup.
ZC staff, including the players who were attempting to qualify for the World Cup, were only paid 40% of their salaries in February. But with Streak and Klusener accepting 40% of theirs, the squad was eventually paid in full for their work during the month. No salaries will be paid in March, as ZC looks to make up the deficit in salaries to the rest of its staff.