Great news for all those interested in Zimbabwean cricket is that the former great South Africa fast bowler Allan Donald has joined a growing list of former internationals heading to Zimbabwe to help rebuild our international reputation and push for a return to Test cricket.
Known as ‘White Lightning’, Alan is remembered as a fearsome fast bowler and in his prime, was one of the best fast bowlers ever seen in Test cricket. He reached the top of the ICC Test rankings in 1998 and peaked with a top ICC ranking of 895 points the next year, the 25th best ranking ever. In ODIs, he reached 794 points in 1998, second place to his teammate Shaun Pollock, the 28th best ranking ever. In the early 1990s, he was arguably the only world-class bowler in the South African team, until the emergence of Pollock, with whom he made a healthy new-ball partnership from the 1996/1997 tour of India until his retirement in 2002.
Before deciding on a role in Zimbabwe and since his retirement from the game in 2003, Donald has worked as a bowling and assistant coach for the Free State in SA, Warwickshire and the English Cricket teams but it is said that he has been frustrated in recent months by his inability to secure a full-time position.
What is interesting is that Allan Donald will not coach at international level, rather he will be in charge of the reigning domestic champions the Mountaineers. His contract will last for at least the forthcoming season which begins on September 6 2010.
Speaking to Cricinfo, Donald said that he has “always wanted to move away from being a bowling specialist and become more of a head coach, and this is exactly the sort of opportunity I’ve been looking for,” and went on to say “We are still putting the finishing touches to the contract but I certainly want to do it for more than one year,” Donald said. “I don’t think you can prove too much in one season. And it’s exciting to be part of Zimbabwe cricket’s revival.”
Steve Mangongo, who coached the Mountaineers to both the four-day Logan Cup and Faithwear Metbank 50-over titles last year has relinquished the post to concentrate on dual roles as national assistant to Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher and a supervisory position at the national academy.
As well as Donald, former England batsman Monte Lynch (Southern Rocks) and Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie (Midwest Rhinos) now coach in Zimbabwe’s domestic competitions. While former Zimbabwean internationals Alistair Campbell, Heath Streak, Grant Flower and Dave Houghton are all involved in Zimbabwean Cricket at national level.