Lalchand Rajput named Zimbabwe coach

Rajput was earlier appointed as the interim coach of the national team for a duration of three months, but the Board on Thursday appointed Rajput full-time with the thought of Zimbabwe's upcoming series against South Africa and Bangladesh in mind.

Lalchand Rajput gets appointed as the full-time coach of the Zimbabwe national team.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

The Zimbabwe Cricket Board has appointed Lalchand Rajput as the coach of the national team for the next three years.

A former coach of the Indian team, Rajput was earlier appointed as the interim coach for a duration of three months. But with Zimbabwe's series against South Africa and Bangladesh lining up, the Board on Thursday sealed the deal with Mumbai-based Rajput.

"It is a big opportunity for me and I hope to deliver the goods for Zimbabwe. They have immense talent and my aim would be to make the most of it," Rajput told Sportstar from Harare.

After taking charge as the coach a few months ago, Rajput's first outing was against Pakistan and Australia. The side failed to make a mark in the tri-series and questions were raised over the team's composition.

But now, taking over as a full-time coach, Rajput's main objective is to create a pool of talent. "We have some of the best senior players in the side and it would be interesting to maintain a balance between the youngsters and the seasoned players," Rajput said.

Having coached Indian team in the past, Rajput has a clear understanding of handling players and getting the best out of them. A few months ago, the Zimbabwe players refused to play as their salaries were not cleared. But now with the dispute coming to an end, Rajput plans to utilize the experience of seasoned campaigners like Brendon Taylor.

"Now the challenge is to put up a proper line-up and with all the players available for selection, there will be some healthy competition," Rajput said.

With the camp already on in Harare, Rajput has already started preparing for the back-to-back series against South Africa and Bangladesh. "It will be a tough outing and we need to be well prepared for it," Rajput said.

There is a possibility of some new members joining as support staff, but that will happen only after the tour to Bangladesh.