Senior Sports Reporter
WITH just over three weeks remaining before the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2022 in Australia, Zimbabwe are leaving no stone unturned in setting up structures after they confirmed the appointment of Englishman Steve Kirby as the new bowling coach yesterday.
Kirby, who has long been linked with the job, joins the new-look technical side that is headed by local legend Dave Houghton.
Zimbabwe Cricket yesterday said Kirby is expected to link-up with the national team ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 that starts in Australia next month.
Kirby, a former first-class cricketer, has until his latest appointment been serving as bowling coach at Somerset, one of the sides that he played for during his long and successful county cricket career in England.
The 44-year-old also worked together with current Zimbabwe head coach, Houghton, at Derbyshire.
ZC Director of Cricket, Hamilton Masakadza, was thrilled by the arrival of the Englishman, who comes with a rich background of English county cricket.
“We are delighted to confirm Steve (Kirby) as our bowling coach for the senior men’s team. He has done incredibly well as a player and coach in county cricket over the years and, as we seek to continue strengthening all facets of our game and improving our performances at the highest level, we count ourselves privileged and fortunate to have him as part of our technical set-up,” said Masakadza.
Apparently, Kirby is also excited by his first overseas coaching job. He said when the opportunity to join Zimbabwe came along, he felt it was one that was too good to ignore. The former fast bowler is relishing the reunion with Houghton, who is believed to have played a part in his recruitment in a bid to strengthen the Chevrons technical team.
“I’ve got aspirations to be the very best coach that I can be, and international cricket is something that I really want to be involved with,” Kirby said.
“I’ve worked really well with Dave Houghton previously when we were at Derbyshire and when this position presented itself, I felt that I couldn’t turn it down.
“The scale of the role is hugely exciting because I won’t just be working with the national XI, but I’ll also be involved with the whole pathway structure across the country.”
The former fast bowler played for Somerset between 2011 and 2014, claiming over 180 wickets across the three formats of the game and re-joined the club as a coach ahead of the 2021 season.
He comes at a time when the Zimbabwe national men’s cricket has been experiencing renewed hopes for success under Houghton.
ZC have overhauled the technical team in the last three months. They appointed local legend Houghton to take charge of the team ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier, which Zimbabwe won.
As part of the coaching changes, Lance Klusener also re-joined the technical team as batting coach.
The former South Africa all-rounder previously served in the same capacity between 2016 and 2018 and was until recently employed as Afghanistan’s head coach.
The Chevrons are expected to go into camp in the coming days to start their final preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to take place in Australia next month. A 15-member squad, led by top order batsman Craig Ervine, was named last week.
Zimbabwe are part of Group B in the first round and they begin their campaign against Ireland on October 17 at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Tasmania. West Indies and Scotland are the other teams in their group.
Zimbabwe are also scheduled to face Sri Lanka and Namibia in warm-up matches on October 10 and 13, ahead of the main tournament.