HARARE – Ireland has poured pressure on Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) by snatching a historic first series win in the African country, leaving ZC in a Catch-22 situation as firing the head coach would bring unwanted attention to the board itself, which has remained the only constant feature throughout the dramatic decline.

Zimbabwe’s 2-1 T2O series defeat to touring Ireland in Harare comes hot on the heels of the Chevrons’ recent failure to qualify for next year’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States.

It was widely rumoured last week that the ZC board had swiftly reacted to the disappointment of the World Cup failure by firing head coach Dave Houghton, but SportsCast can reveal that the decision was reversed after realising that it would have been the fourth time that the board was sacking a coach of repute – yet the officials themselves stayed put and didn’t move an inch.

Three coaches have been fired by ZC since Tavengwa Mukuhlani became ZC chairman in August 2015. The iconic former Zimbabwe captain Houghton, if he goes, will be the fourth coach to be shown the exit under the leadership of Mukuhlani – a politician and Member of Parliament for the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Under Mukuhlani, Zimbabwe in May 2016 fired the world renowned Australian Dav Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996.

Dav Whatmore as Zimbabwe’s coach.

Mukuhlani’s board then dismissed Heath Streak in a huff in 2018 after the legendary late ex-national team captain failed to take Zimbabwe to the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE – MARCH 06: Heath Streak Head Coach of Zimbabwe during the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier between Zimbabwe and Afghanistan at Queens Sorts Club on March 6, 2018 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. (Photo by Nigel Roddis – ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Streak’s replacement, Lalchand Rajput, was then removed as Zimbabwe’s coach in June 2022 after a disastrous tenure in charge of the Chevrons.

Lalchand Rajput was the last scalp of ZC in June 2022.

Indian Rajput was replaced by Houghton, who oversaw a quick turnaround of the team before things started going haywire again, to this day.

So following defeats to Namibia and Uganda at the T20 World Cup qualifiers last month, the ZC board has been in a state of absolute confusion regarding what measures to take, for they have been the common denominator in the crisis.

Incumbent Dave Houghton (right), seen here recently with player Wessly Madhevere, is also walking a tightrope.

It was hoped in the corridors of power that a good performance over Ireland would, for now, silence critics and divert attention from the under pressure board – which has been reluctant to take drastic action. But Ireland’s six-wicket win in Harare on Sunday registered the tourists’ first series win in Zimbabwe, ahead of the two rivals’ three ODIs at the same venue beginning on Wednesday, bringing the crisis again under the glare of the spotlight.


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