ZC board praised by ex-min­is­ter

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Mehluli Sibanda Se­nior Sports Re­porter

FOR­MER Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion, Sports, Arts and Cul­ture, David Coltart has praised the Tavengwa Mukuh­lani led Zim­babwe Cricket board for do­ing a su­perb job of turn­ing around the for­tunes of the sport in the coun­try.

Coltart, a per­sonal friend of for­mer ZC chair­man, Wil­son Manase said he was scep­ti­cal of Mukuh­lani when the Bu­l­awayo-based phar­ma­cist was elected in Au­gust 2015 but he has been proven wrong so far. Coltart was speak­ing dur­ing a din­ner or­gan­ised for the na­tional cricket team at the Old Mu­tual Heath Streak Academy last Thurs­day.

“We need to pay trib­ute this evening to the new chair­man of the board of Zim­babwe Cricket, who has done a mag­nif­i­cent job which I have to con­fess when he first took over I was scep­ti­cal of him and I am pleased, I am de­lighted to have been proved wrong. He has made, with his col­leagues on the board, the right de­ci­sions and we are now see­ing the fruit of that be­fore our very own eyes,’’ Coltart said.

One of the things Coltart feels the ZC did right was to ap­point for­mer na­tional team cap­tain, Ta­tenda Taibu as the con­vener of the se­lec­tion panel. Dur­ing his last few days in of­fice as min­is­ter, Coltart fought hard with­out suc­cess to en­sure that the na­tional se­lec­tion panel was led by some­one with Test cricket ex­pe­ri­ence. Coltart said he has be­lief in Taibu, that he will be fair and he has the abil­ity to iden­tify tal­ented play­ers.

“I ar­gued that we needed some­one with in­ter­na­tional cricket ex­pe­ri­ence as con­vener of se­lec­tors, the one thing I knew is that it took an un­der­stand­ing of Test cricket to iden­tify peo­ple who didn’t just have the tech­ni­cal abil­ity but the men­tal strength and you needed some­one who had been there be­fore so I am de­lighted that the chair­man and the board ap­pointed Ta­tenda and I think he has done a mag­nif­i­cent job in se­lect­ing based on merit, we are see­ing it on the field,’’ Coltart said.

Turn­ing to the play­ers, Coltart said he has al­ways had be­lief in their tal­ent and all they needed was an ad­min­is­tra­tive struc­ture and a sense of per­ma­nence, sense of or­der and that of fair­ness to achieve their full po­ten­tial.

“We are so de­lighted as a na­tion to see the im­prove­ments just in the last few months, my heart was swelling with pride when I saw you guys in Sri Lanka, it’s just fan­tas­tic,’’ Coltart said.

He went on to give his thoughts on how the coach Heath Streak and his play­ers should ap­proach the sec­ond Test against West Indies which gets un­der­way at Queens Sports Club this morn­ing.

“From my very in­ex­pe­ri­enced per­spec­tive, can I just give a few tips to the coach and the play­ers for the game that’s com­ing up. When there are any op­po­si­tion play­ers any­where cer­tainly be­fore you get to 50, please I don’t want to see any air be­tween the ball and ground after its left the bat for quite a con­sid­er­ably pe­riod,’’ he said.

For­mer cap­tain, Brendan Tay­lor was run out for 73 in the sec­ond in­nings of the first Test and Coltart said while the crick­eter might have his first name be­gin­ning with the same let­ter as that of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, he was not the quick­est when it comes to run­ning in be­tween the wick­ets.

“Please just be a bit con­ser­va­tive with those re­verse sweeps as well, we de­light in them when they come off but when they don’t come off. To BT in par­tic­u­lar, your first name shares the same let­ter as the fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt but un­for­tu­nately this de­spite your in­cred­i­ble tal­ent you are not as fast as him wicket to wicket,’’ he said, amid laugh­ter from the crowd.

Old Mu­tual Heath Streak Academy chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Joseph Rego said the event was meant to cel­e­brate the re­cent spate of vic­to­ries as well as good per­for­mances of the Zim­babwe na­tional cricket team and to wish them well in the forth­com­ing In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil World Cup Qual­i­fier to be held in the coun­try in March next year.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions Tavengwa Mukuh­lani, chair­man and Faisal Has­nain, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Zim­babwe Cricket for spar­ing no ef­forts in ob­tain­ing the rights from ICC to host such a pres­ti­gious event in Zim­babwe,’’ Rego said.

Streak, his play­ers, ZC board mem­ber Vu­mind­aba Moyo as well as staff at­tended the cer­e­mony.

Mean­while, Mukuh­lani yes­ter­day briefed the ZC board on the ICC meet­ings out­comes which had some pos­i­tives con­clu­sions for Zim­babwe. The ZC board meet­ing took place at Queens Sports Club. The ICC board gather­ings, held in New Zealand saw Zim­babwe be­ing awarded the rights to host next year’s World Cup Qual­i­fier. On top of that, the coun­try will also host an ICC board meet­ing to be staged in Vic­to­ria Falls in April next year. —

David Coltart

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