Coach Marsh to quit

By Enock Muchinjo

AS the crisis in local cricket deepens, Zimbabwe national team coach Geoff Marsh will be quitting in September, he told IndependentSport this week.



ana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The former Australia national team player and coach said he will not renew his contract with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) when it expires in September. Marsh claims he reached the decision during a tour of Australia last year.


“I was approached by Mac Ebrahim (ZCU board member) in Australia and asked me to coach the team up to the (2007) World Cup. But I could not commit myself to that, being a family man and having been away from home for a long time,” said Marsh. “So I wrote to the ZCU a nice letter saying I could not accept the offer.”


Sources within the cricket fraternity however denied Marsh’s claims and said he had been forced to quit due to the prevailing chaos in cricket.

“He had made an undertaking to be in charge of the team until 2007, although he would then be renewing his contract,” said a highly placed source. “He was obviously put off by the current chaos.”


Marsh spoke to this paper after his team of mostly inexperienced youngsters lost the second Test to Sri Lanka by an innings and 254 runs as the tourists completed a whitewash over Zimbabwe.


“We could not get anything more from them at this tender age,” he remarked. “No one expected them to be playing at this level as yet. They were thrown in the deep end.”


Marsh has declined to comment on the impasse between the ZCU and 15 rebel players spanning over a month now, which forced him to field a makeshift side against Sri Lanka.


Embarrassing whitewash defeats also stare in the face of Marsh if he is going to field the same team against world champions Australia, with the first Test scheduled to start tomorrow.


It is also believed by insiders that Marsh’s other undisclosed reason for not renewing his contract are contradictions between him and national team selectors. In the interview this week, Marsh expressed his desire to have the 15 rebel players included in the team to take on Australia.


However, convenor of selectors, Steve Mangongo, in a separate interview, shot down Marsh’ desire. “I have not seen any of them at training. It’s like when you don’t turn up at your workplace, how do you expect to be given an assignment?” he said.

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