Lalchand Rajput has been appointed as Zimbabwe’s head coach on a three-month deal, with the potential for his appointment to be extended.
The Afghanistan coach for the last two years, 56-year-old Rajput’s appointment fills the gap following the sacking of Heath Streak and his entire coaching staff after their failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
Zimbabwe Cricket has dangled a longer-term carrot in front of Rajput based on the performances of the team, but he certainly hasn’t been given a smooth transition. First up, Zimbabwe host Australia and Pakistan in a home T20I tri-series in July.
‘They [Zimbabwe Cricket] called me up and showed an interest in me. For now, the deal is for three months. After that, if both parties agree, it will be extended. I am really happy with this because this is what I was looking for after the job with Afghanistan,’ Rajput told the ICC.
‘Afghanistan did exceptionally well when I was the coach there, so the people in Zimbabwe must have seen something that impressed them. But yes, it’s a challenge. Challenges get the best out of me. I think people know me for that.’
Zimbabwean cricket has endured some stormy waters in recent years, but Rajput is putting his focus on knitting the players into a solid playing unit.
‘My first job will be to get the players ready for the triangular series. I have not yet met the players; I will go there and slowly find out everything, meet them, understand them, motivate them. There is a lot of talent there, but I need to turn things around quickly and hopefully take them to the next level. The main thing is to get the players together and get them to perform as a unit,’ said the former Indian batsman who played two Tests against Sri Lanka in 1985.
Rajput’s coaching credentials include coaching the India U19s, serving as India’s senior team manager at the inaugural World T20 in 2007 (won by India), and he also coached the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
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