Zimbabwe’s performances during their tour of Sri Lanka last month, where they won the five-match ODI series 3-2 and went on to stretch the hosts in the one-off Test, have impressed many.
The Zimbabwean players have praised the role played by team’s batting coach Lance Klusener. The former South African all-rounder, who came on board last year, felt that this Zimbabwe team had a lot of self-belief.
“When I came into the side there was a lot of poor morale and players didn’t really believe in their abilities. My job as a batting coach was to make sure that they began believing in themselves. Also, our coach Heath Streak created a great dressing room atmosphere which was instrumental in the players giving their best,” said Klusener, coach of the Lyca Kovai Kings on the eve of their Tamil Nadu Premier League clash against Tuti Patriots.
On the preparations Zimbabwe did before their Sri Lankan tour, Klusener said, “My experiences of having played in Sri Lanka did come into play. Our batsmen worked a lot on our sweep shots and that definitely worked wonders in those conditions.”
Klusener is happy that Zimbabwe Cricket officials are looking to bring back former cricketers Brendon Taylor and Kyle Jarvis – currently playing in English counties – into the national fold.
“The development speaks a lot about how things have improved in Zimbabwe cricket. If we can get a player like Brendan back, it will be fantastic. It adds a lot to the competition for players who are already in the side. And that’s going to bring the best out of us,” Klusener said.
Both Taylor and Jarvis had left Zimbabwe by taking the Kolpak deal route to play in English counties. Player exodus has been one of the biggest issues plaguing South African cricket in recent times.
Klusener, who signed up for Northamptonshire as part of the Kolpak deal back in 2006, did see a lot of positives.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in England. I think it’s a good thing for us. Those who qualified for Kolpak did take that chance as they didn’t see much opportunity in international cricket back home,” he said.
His success with the Zimbabwe side notwithstanding, Klusener has his task cut out when Kovai Kings face table-toppers Patriots on Thursday.
“I don’t think there are any easy games in the tournament. It’s nice to know about our opposition and what they have done in the past. But our focus is on what we can do,” Klusener said.
The former all-rounder felt that Kovai Kings had the potential to go the distance in the competition.
“I see a lot of change in the way players in our side prepare in this season. Many from our side have gone on to play domestic cricket which has made them more confident in their abilities. For me as a coach, it’s not about changing much but just tinker a few things here and there,” he concluded. TNN