rajput

Former Mumbai opening batsman and coach of the inaugural T20 World Cup 2007 winning India squad, Lalchand Rajput, is all set to don the role of the head coach of the Zimbabwe national team at a time when they are going through a crisis.

Rajput has been a respected and successful international coach of the famed Ramakant Achrekar school of cricket. At various junctures of his coaching career he has been involved with India, india A, India U-19, Afghanistan as well as the Mumbai Indians team in the IPL.

In a conversation with Zimbabwe Cricket, Rajput has contended that his job would become much easier if the Zimbabwe players work hard. “To be very honest, I had come on an interim basis as I wanted to first assess the team and its players. It was important for me to understand the players, assess their strengths and weaknesses and their attitude towards the game. The players are very hard-working and the team strives to improve their performance in every game. I think I have in the last three months seen that the players are keen to work hard. If they are keen to work hard, my job becomes easier. My experience as an international player and coach can really make a difference to this team,” he said.

He stressed on the importance of having a full squad at the helm for Zimbabwe’s challenging assignments against South Africa and Bangladesh. “The biggest challenge is that I want to get the team where it was earlier because the team has fantastic players who have done really well. To have a full squad will be excellent. They will bring additional strength and confidence to the team. The likes of Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine – their coming back means a great deal,” the coach said.

The topmost priority for Rajput is the upcoming assignments against South Africa and Bangladesh. “As I said, I like challenges. South Africa and Bangladesh are among the toughest tours. But I think tough tours make you and the players even tougher. So with my experience I will make the players tough and to perform better in tough conditions. That is the biggest challenge and I think we can make a difference in that. I am very excited to get on the road with this team,” Rajput told ZC.

He stressed on the fact that he would like the team to play positive cricket, play hard and play to win. Rajput made 7988 runs in 110 first-class matches at a more than impressive average of 49.30 and a high score of 275.