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Pakistan shower Flower with praise

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FORMER Zimbabwe batting coach Grant Flower was on Monday showered with praises for his role in Pakistan’s memorable Test win over Australia in Dubai, on the same day his compatriot Heath Streak played a role in Bangladesh’s win over his former employers in Dhaka.

DANIEL NHAKANISO
SPORTS REPORTER

Flower was Zimbabwe’s batting coach for over three years starting October 2010, while Streak joined the Bangladesh technical department as bowling coach in May, a year after Zimbabwe Cricket did not renew his contract for the same role.

The 44-year-old Flower was lauded by Pakistan’s premier batsman Younus Khan, who capped a memorable Test against Australia with hundreds in both innings.

Khan scored 106 and 103 not-out as Pakistan romped to a crashing 221-run victory over the Aussies, their first Test win over the Michael Clarke captained side since 2010.

After the stellar perfomance, Khan — who became Pakistan’s leading Test century maker with 26 hundreds — paid tribute to Flower for working hard with him in the nets at a time when the Pakistan selectors appeared to have lost faith in him.

The 36-year-old veteran, who had earlier in the series been dropped for three one-day international series and only T20s also thanked the fielding coach Grant Ludan for his stellar performance, but refused to give credit to the board or the selectors.

“I am just happy that my performance helped the team win because we needed this win for a while now,” he said.

“I give lot of credit to Grant Ludon and Grant Flower who worked hard with me before this test to get me ready for the match psychologically and mentally.”

“Grant Flower spent a lot of time with me in the nets and mentally he prepared me for a bruising time against a top-class Australian attack.

“Even though I was hit a couple of times on the body, I was expecting this and managed to stay firm.”

Although it was the spinners who played a major role in Bangladesh’s three-wicket win over Zimbabwe on Monday, Streak’s influence was evident with their pace bowling attack of Al-Amin Hossain and Shahadat Hossain showing tremendous improvement under his mentorship.

Streak and Flower join a growing list of experienced Zimbabwean coaches that continue to make headlines on the international scene when their input would have been valuable for the national side.

Duncan Fletcher, the former Zimbabwe captain, leads the star-studded list which also includes the likes of Andy Flower and Dave Houghton.

Fletcher, who early this year guided India to victory at the World Twenty20, is credited with the resurgence of the England team in Test cricket in the early years of the 2000s during his tenure from 1999 to 2007.

Flower was also a hit with the England team since taking over as head coach in 2009, leading the Three Lions to back-to-back Ashes series wins in his first two years in charge of the team.

The former Zimbabwe captain also led England to the ICC World T20 trophy in the West Indies in 2010.

Houghton, who is now coaching Somerset in the English County Championship, is another local who has made a mark coaching on the international stage since beginning his County coaching career back in 1994 with Worcestershire.

He has had successful stints with Derbyshire as their batting coach before joining Somerset.

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