Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) captain Heath Streak has been appointed the senior men’s team head coach with immediate effect, succeeding Dav Whatmore who was sacked in June.
Streak was preferred over former team-mate Andy Blignaut, two South Africans Peter Kirsten and Justin Summons, who were all interviewed for the job last Wednesday.
Streak’s immediate task will be ensuring that Zimbabwe qualifies for the 2019 World Cup, and will be allowed to continue in his role as bowling coach for the Gujarat Lions in the IPL.
Makhaya Ntini, who was interim head coach since Whatmore’s departure and oversaw Zimbabwe’s limited-overs series against India and the two Tests against New Zealand, is expected to stay on as bowling coach while Lance Klusener will continue as batting consultant.
Streak has previous experience as a head coach, he was in charge of the Bulawayo-based franchise Matabeleland Tuskers in the 2012-13 season, when they won the Logan Cup.
Heath Streak’s extensive experience in Zimbabwe also included a four-year stint as bowling coach between 2009 and 2013, under Alan Butcher and was instrumental in readying Zimbabwe for their Test comeback in 2011 and nurtured some of their best bowling talents including Brian Vitori, Kyle Jarvis, and Chris Mpofu.
When Streak’s contract with Zimbabwe was not renewed, he spent two years as bowling coach of Bangladesh, before moving to the IPL. He has remained committed to cricket in Zimbabwe by setting up an academy in Bulawayo and also spent time doing television commentary in the country.
However, the former all-rounder has less than three weeks to get ready for his first assignment, a two-Test series against Sri Lanka followed by an ODI tri-series which includes West Indies.
Zimbabwe’s cricketers have been in training under Ntini’s watch throughout September in preparation for the series and are currently playing against Pakistan A.
Their practice was briefly interrupted when the players embarked on a strike in protest over non-payment of match fees but they reached a resolution with ZC administrators.
The cricketing mother body ,ZC ,has also finalized national contracts, although the list has not been made public.