Raza backs new coach Sammons

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Raza backs new coach Sammons 
Newly-appointed batting coach Dion Ebrahim (left) and Chevrons T20 captain Sikandar Raza watch a practice session at Harare Sports Club

Don Makanyanga, Sports Reporter

Zimbabwe T20 senior men’s cricket team captain Sikandar Raza has backed new national team coach Justin Sammons to shine and carry the team forward as he starts his journey today.

Zimbabwe are set to host India in a five match T20I series starting today at Harare Sports Club.

The series will be the first for new coach Sammons, who was named successor to Dave Houghton, who resigned from the role in December after Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the just ended T20 World Cup which was won by India.

Sammons will head a new technical department which comprises assistant coach Dion Ibrahim, Charl Langeveldt (bowling coach), Ravish Gobind (Strategic Performance Coach) and Curtly Diesel (Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (fielding coach).

And Raza is confident that the new technical department will steer the national team forward as they target to qualify for the 2026 T20 World Cup.

“Justin (Sammons) worked with us a few years ago and we are really excited and proud that he is back as the head coach now.

“He has brought in some new methods which sort of replicate modern day cricket so I am really excited for him. He is excited and he has great methods along with Dion and the rest of the technical department.

“I believe they will take Zimbabwe cricket forward,” said Raza.

With both Zimbabwe and India having named relatively new sides, Raza feels that the series marks a new era for both teams.

“It is a very important series for Zimbabwe and for the vision that we have (Zimbabwe).

“Both sides have picked young squads and this clearly shows that both countries are going through a transition phase.

“And it is a lot more important for us (series) in the sense that we want to make sure that when, we the senior guys are done, the future of the country and the sport in this country is safe and this means a lot of opportunities for a lot of youngsters and I am excited for them and they are also excited as well,” said Raza.

Going into the five-match series as the underdogs, the Chevrons T20 captain, has warned the visiting team to underestimate the hosts at their own peril.

“We want to win the series and both teams have equal chances.

“I always say that irrespective of how many runs or wickets you have once you go onto the middle of the park you start from scratch you, you start from zero and of course there is experience that counts, but you know each game every team has a chance to win.

“It will be nice if we win the series or a game,” said Raza.

Tasked with leading a relatively young team, Raza said he has urged the young players to concentrate on their game and ignore the names.

“The most important message that I have shared with them is that battle is always against the bat and the ball never against any particular individual,” said Raza.