HARARE – Former Zimbabwe cricket captain Dave Houghton has returned as the African side’s coach to replace Indian Lalchand Rajput, who however remains in the country’s structures as technical director according to the board.

The changes were made after an emergency board meeting on Tuesday in reaction to Zimbabwe’s whitewash defeat to Afghanistan (pictured in celebration) in a three-match series, following another clean-sweep loss in the one-day internationals.

As Zimbabwe was slumping to a 35 defeat in the last T20I at Harare Sports Club, the board was meeting and decided to relieve Rajput of his duties with the team, however to stay on in a different role.

Zimbabwe’s limited-overs captain Craig Ervine described the 64-year-old Houghton as an “important figure” when asked about the changes.

Houghton, who is one of the African side’s greatest players in history and was the captain when Zimbabwe was first granted Test status in the early 1990s, had a previous stint as the country’s head coach.

“It’s still very fresh news for the team,” Ervine told reporters after the match. “You know, Dave Houghton coming in, he is an important part of Zimbabwe cricket. He’s been around Zim cricket, he’s an important figure and I think he is very well respected. I don’t see why there would been an issue there.”

Rajput, who had a short playing career with India, was initially appointed Zimbabwe’s coach in 2018 and had his contract renewed in 2021. Before Zimbabwe, he had also coached Afghanistan in international cricket.

Zimbabwe continued to slide under his watch, the dismal performances reflecting across all three formats.

He was finally removed on Tuesday after Afghanistan successfully defended 125-8 with teenage debutant Noor Ahmad claiming four wickets as the Zimbabweans again failed to apply themselves under sustained pressure.

The 17-year-old took 4-10.

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi earlier on top-scored with 31.


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