Williams in retirement U-turn, spotlight on Rajput

29 Aug, 2021 - 00:08 0 Views
Williams in retirement U-turn, spotlight on Rajput Sean Williams

The Sunday News

Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THE build-up to the start of the Zimbabwe’s limited overs cricket tour of Ireland was overshadowed by news that the country’s Test captain, Sean Williams was retiring from international cricket.

News that Williams was quitting the national team broke out last Wednesday as it turned out that he had a day before written a letter to Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) to inform them he was retiring from international cricket after serving his three months’ notice at the end of November.

The communication by the left-handed all-rounder, who turns 35 at the end of next month indicated frustration from the player with the decision taken by ZC to give opportunities to younger players in Twenty20 Internationals while the seniors are seen as being key in One Day Internationals and Tests.

Williams, who only left the country last Tuesday after remaining behind when he asked for a break seems to be unhappy under coach Lalchand Rajput. To add to the fiasco, Williams seems to have had a change of mind as he has now gone back on that decision to retire as he is said to have informed his employers that he was withdrawing his retirement letter and expressed his commitment to see out his central contract which still has 10 months left.

Williams’ actions did, however, cast the spotlight on Rajput who many are of the view has not added any value to the Zimbabwean team since he took up the job two years ago.

A lot was expected from the respected Indian coach but the team has clearly regressed under Rajput.

Since Rajput took charge of the team in 2018, Zimbabwe have won four out of 29 ODIs, triumphed in just eight out of 29 T20Is and have only been victorious in two of 10 Tests. Rajput’s contract runs its course at the end of September and the feeling is that ZC should let him go.

ZC, as part of a turnaround strategy should be making changes to the technical team in the coming weeks, with many expecting Rajput to be released but questions have also been asked about those around him, sources said. Stuart Matsikenyeri, Douglas Hondo and Shepherd Makunura have also come under heavy spotlight with sentiment being that they were not adding any value to the national team.

Zimbabwe started off their tour of Ireland with a sensational win on Friday after the bowlers fought hard to secure victory by three runs in the first T20I to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. The two teams collide in the second T20I today with the Craig Ervine led Chevrons looking to go two nil up in the series. Zimbabwe certainly need an improvement in the batting department, which was not so impressive on Friday.

Zimbabwe women were in action against Thailand yesterday at Takashinga Cricket Club and lost by 53 runs in the second T20I, which means the two teams are tied 1-1 ahead of the decider tomorrow.

Meanwhile, ZC have appointed former international players Elton Chigumbura and Kyle Jarvis as national talent scouts. In their new role, the duo will be responsible for identifying players from around the country and mentoring them from the grassroots level all the way up the development pathway. — @Mdawini_29

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