HARARE — Dav Whatmore is expected to be appointed as Zimbabwe’s coach ahead of the 2015 World Cup, replacing Stephen Mangongo who was sacked from the position earlier in December after a five-month tenure.
Whatmore will be joined by a new batting coach, who is yet to be named, and Douglas Hondo as bowling coach, with an extension to Whatmore’s deal due to be negotiated after the World Cup. A Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) release stated that Whatmore is “arriving in Harare this evening (last night), for his interview tomorrow (today)”.
For now, Whatmore’s primary task will be to ensure Zimbabwe have a better tournament than they did in 2011, where they only managed to beat the associates in their group and lost heavily against the other full members. Zimbabwe’s only two major scalps at an ICC event are South Africa in the 1999 World Cup, and Australia during the 2007 World Twenty20.
Whatmore has little over a month to prepare Zimbabwe ahead of the showpiece event in Australia and New Zealand, and he will be doing so at a Dubai-based academy as well as at their home country.
Zimbabwe will be the first non-Asian international side Whatmore has coached after previously being in charge of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Under Whatmore, Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup and Pakistan claimed the 2012 Asia Cup.
During the 2007 World Cup, Whatmore led Bangladesh to victories over India and South Africa, helping the team reach the Super Eight.
Since 2000, Zimbabwe Cricket has lurched from one crisis to another – most notably a six-year self-imposed exile from the longest format. After their Test comeback in 2011, they have enjoyed limited success including Test wins over Bangladesh and Pakistan, and a one-day international (ODI) victory over Australia, but they have continued to struggle away from home.
Zimbabwe were blanked 8-0 on their recent tour of Bangladesh, in which they lost all three Tests and all five ODIs — a result that led to Mangongo’s sacking.
They have only been on two other tours in the last three years, to New Zealand and West Indies, and lost every match in all formats on both those visits.
Their domestic game, meanwhile, has been marred by strikes over non-payment of salaries, and the financial situation still remains unstable.
It is also expected that former Zimbabwe captain Alistair Campbell will rejoin ZC, after resigning as chairman of selectors in 2011.
He is likely to return as the board’s managing director of cricket, essentially an overseeing role.
Givemore Makoni is expected to retain his position as convener of selectors over a panel which will include Whatmore, Hondo, the captain Elton Chigumbura, and Babu Memon, a long-serving administrator and former team manager.
Whatmore, the Sri Lanka-born Australian, is a tried and tested hand at what he does best.
His stint with his country of birth as a coach was phenomenal as he took them to the victory stand of the 1996 World Cup at Lahore.
Much the same success he enjoyed when in charge of the Bangladesh team where he guided them to their first series win in Tests against Zimbabwe and their triumphant progress in the 2007 World Cup.
His experience with Lancashire as coach and earlier as a player of note for Victoria and for a brief period as a Test player for Australia, still serves him well.