But he did not only come to reside in Zimbabwe when international sporting teams either refused to visit or visited with a sceptical mind; he accepted a job as Zimbabwe Cricket coach. Former England international, Alan Butcher, told The Zimbabwean on Sunday, last week, that he had so far enjoyed his stay in the country.
I knew the situation here from my previous experience playing in Zimbabwe. I obviously knew that some reports were a bit exaggerated. They (New Zealand, England and Australia) probably know it is safe to tour Zimbabwe, well at least after Sri Lanka and India safely did that. But I get the feeling that it is Mugabe they have a problem with that they keep making those excuses about lack of health security, said Butcher.
In another interview with The Zimbabwean on Sunday two years ago, former Zimbabwe international Andy Flower one of the well renowned cricketers in the world who has proved a force to reckon with as a coach by leading England into their first ever ICC world cup victory in the Twenty20 World Cup this year- said there was a possibility of him coming back to coach in Zimbabwe.
But he however insisted that there would have to be a change in the countrys leadership for that to happen and for that matter in the leadership of Zimbabwe Cricket. I would not work for the present leadership. I do not respect them as people or leaders.
Mugabe and his party Zanu (PF) was then in power before the formation of the all inclusive government with Movement for Democratic Change Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
If that was two years ago he (Flower) has probably changed his mind now that his brother (Grant Flower) will be coming. It was easy for me because I have no personal grudges with anyone here though there will be a few of my friends who will have a problem watching me shack hands with Mugabe as the patron of cricket, explained Butcher. Since his arrival in March, the national cricket coach has so far faced the challenge of poor electronic communication and trying to negotiate the traffic lights that do not work in town and the potholes.
But he suggested with a laugh as he sipped his cup of cappuccino, maybe like I know my wife will say, it is probably something to do with my incompetence. With the business on the field, Butcher has enjoyed the progress he has made with the team despite predicting a tough return to Test Cricket. The team is an immature side that is gaining maturity and they are in a better position to accept challenges because life is certainly not going to be easy when we return for test cricket, he predicted. There is need for experienced middle order batsmen and pace bowlers who will collectively need to be strong enough to bat or bowl the whole day. Its not going to be easy adjusting and we need to be realistic in what we want to achieve, all I hope for so as to prove competitive is lasting till tea time into the fourth day against experienced sides and at least matching teams that are not so much above us (in the ICC test cricket standings.)
The Zimbabwean on Sunday consulted the coach on his assessment of the following players performance. Elton Chigumbura (captain) He is a naturally gifted cricketer, exciting to watch especially with the bat. Although he is having a little bit of a problem with the ball but with Englands County cricket he is set to play he will mature. Ideally his appointment as a captain may have come a little bit later but after Prosper Utseyas resignation he was the outstanding candidate at the time. Hamilton Masakadza He has worked hard on his technique, he is acquiring confidence that he has been lacking
Greg Lamp I would say if as coach one of the things you always emphasise is the necessity of people to sacrifice their own ambitions to the good of the team. Lamp has been outstanding because of that. He has batted up and down the order and he has come in at very difficult situations very often. He has always tried to do what is necessary for the team, he has bowled whenever asked in the powerplays or in difficult situations. Ray Price He is a quality one day bowler and great competitor. He is always in the oppositions face though sometimes a bit too much. (Laughs) He is the kind of character you would always want to have, well at least one of them.
Charles Coventry- I just get the feeling that I havent seen the best of Charles Coventry yet. Well I have seen how wonderfully he strikes the ball but in future I hope to see a slightly more responsible Coventry playing mean fully and if he can acquire that in his role as a cameo I think he has the talent to become a high quality international player. Tatenda Taibu Im full of admiration for Tatenda for his energy, enthusiasm and skill. You never know when he is beaten, Im looking forward to working with him more.
Asked on which player he has so far been impressed with, Butcher was not slow to pick on 19-year-old Tendai Chatara.
I quiet excited by Tendai Chatara as a pace bowler. He will be certainly someone to keep an eye on and make sure that when we return to test cricket he gets as much experience and help he needs. He has a good pace attack for the future, he commended.Post published in: Cricket