Butcher expects tough West Indies tour
HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe national cricket team coach Alan Butcher is anticipating a tough tour of the West Indies considering that Zimbabwe’s hosts are playing some of the best cricket at the moment.
The Zimbabwe national cricket team heads off to West Indies next month for two Tests, three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals.
In what is going to be the last time he is in charge of the national cricket team, Butcher said the West Indies tour is an exciting challenge for Zimbabwe to prove that they can play some good cricket away from home. Since Butcher took over as national team coach in 2010, Zimbabwe have impressed at home but have been disappointing on the road.
“At home we have done well but it is the results away from home which remain worrying. It is going to be a tough tour to West Indies. They are playing good cricket at the moment. Our players have to stand up, show some character, perform well enough, play positive and confident cricket,’’ said Butcher.
On which format he thought Zimbabwe could excel, Butcher said he expected the team to do well in all the three forms of the game with players such as captain Brendan Taylor, Vusumuzi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Kyle Jarvis and Christopher Mpofu set to play a leading role.
Butcher said although playing against the West Indies was such a huge challenge, the Calypso Kings were not as intimidating as their team of the 1980s which used to strike fear into the opposition.
He has, however, not set any targets for his players and believes all they had to do was to play some outstanding cricket and giving themselves a chance to win.
The biggest talking point about the Zimbabwean squad to the Caribbean nation was the exclusion of former national team captain Elton Chigumbura. The all rounder was omitted from a 24-man training squad after selectors ran out of patience due to the player’s recurrent poor form.
Butcher pointed out that leaving out Chigumbura was not an easy choice to make but the statistics did not favour the player to get selected.
‘’Leaving out Elton Chigumbura was a tough decision because while on paper he balances the squad he has not put up a good enough performance to remain in the team. It now gives another player an opportunity to claim that all rounder spot,’’ Butcher said.
Another player who will not be going to West Indies is Matabeleland Tuskers fast bowler Glenn Querl who is yet to make his international debut. Butcher disclosed that the pace bowler has not made himself available for national team selection due to “obstacles” which Butcher could not reveal.
Querl was the leading wicket taker for Tuskers last season with 45 wickets as the Bulawayo based franchise landed the Logan Cup first class Trophy for the second year running. However, issues have been raised about his bowling action by opposition coaches who claim that Querl chucks, allegations that have never been proven.
The 24-man squad goes into camp in Harare on 4 February with the team set to leave for West Indies on 16 February.
It is going to be Butcher’s last assignment as Zimbabwe coach after the 59-year-old Briton chose not to apply for the job which falls vacant at the end of March when his contract expires.
Zimbabwe Cricket invited those interested to apply for the job with the deadline being 30 November last year and the new coach would be in charge when Zimbabwe play Bangladesh at home in April.