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Rajput appointed short-term Zimbabwe head coach

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Former India batsman Lalchand Rajput has been appointed Zimbabwe head coach on a three-month deal, which might be extended based on the results.

Rajput replaced Heath Streak, who, along with the entire coaching staff, was sacked in March after the team failed to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

Rajput’s first assignment will be a rather challenging one, with Zimbabwe set to play a home T20I tri-series against Australia and Pakistan in July.

Rajput had also coached Afghanistan in the last two years. “They [Zimbabwe Cricket] called me up and showed an interest in me. For now, the deal is for three months. After that, if both parties agree, it will be extended,” Rajput told the ICC. “I am really happy with this, because this is what I was looking for after the job with Afghanistan.

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“Afghanistan did exceptionally well when I was the coach there, so the people in Zimbabwe must have seen something that impressed them. But yes, it’s a challenge. Challenges get the best out of me. I think people know me for that.”

Zimbabwean cricket has been marred with crises in the last few years, especially on the financial front. In the current climate, Rajput said he needed to ensure the players playing as a unit.

“My first job will be to get the players ready for the triangular series. I have not yet met the players; I will go there and slowly find out everything, meet them, understand them, motivate them,” he said. “There is a lot of talent there, but I need to turn things around quickly and hopefully take them to the next level. The main thing is to get the players together and get them to perform as a unit.”

Rajput also coached India U-19s previously, and was the senior team’s manager at the inaugural World T20 in 2007, which they won. He has also coached IPL team Mumbai Indians. Rajput was in the race to become the India coach in 2017, before Ravi Shastri was appointed.

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