On a rain-hit gloomy day at Newlands, Makhaya Ntini‘s controversial ‘resignation’ from the position of Zimbabwe‘s bowling coach has come as a much-needed respite for a news-hungry press box. According to a press release from Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) the former South Africa speedster tendered his resignation with immediate effect.
“It is with regret that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) announces that Makhaya Ntini, the National Team Bowling Coach, has tendered his resignation from ZC, with immediate effect.
“Makhaya has brought a wealth of experience and practical knowledge to ZC, and ZC and its players and coaching staff were fortunate to have had an opportunity to work closely with him during this period, and to learn from his many years of playing for Cricket South Africa at the highest level.
@ZimCricketv regrets to announce that Makhaya Ntini, the National Team Bowling Coach, has tendered his resignation, with immediate effect. And while reluctantly accepting his resignation, ZC fully appreciates and respects his decision, and wishes him all the best for the future. pic.twitter.com/2VEnLYh7Ex
— Zimbabwe Cricket (@ZimCricketv) 7 January 2018
“While reluctantly accepting his resignation, ZC fully appreciates and respects the reasons behind Makhaya’s decision, and wishes him all the very best for the future,” the ZC release mentioned.
Ntini was associated with the Zimbabwe national team since January 2016. It was his first foray into coaching. In fact, before taking up this role he did not have any experience or formal training as a coach.
Meanwhile, as a bowling coach, he first worked under Dave Whatmore and in May 2016 when Whatmore was sacked Ntini was made the interim coach. He was in that position until October that year and when Heath Streak took charge, Ntini was back at his normal role.
Well, initially, it looked like a straightforward story, until a South Africa based radio channel, Radio 2000 aired an exclusive interview of the man of the moment.
In that interview, Ntini claimed that he was forced by Zimbabwe Cricket to tender his resignation. And the drama unfolded.
We are playing the interview again RIGHT NOW on The Touchline with @romytitus
Tune in – 97.2 – 100FM
— radio2000_sport (@radio2000_sport) 7 January 2018
“The honest truth is that I didn’t resign,” Ntini told Radio 2000. “I received a text message from the MD, saying that he would like to talk to me. The first thing that he mentioned, he reminded me that we had a chat about four months ago regarding some of the players’ unhappiness. Some of the players and the staff members went to see him and reported that they are not happy with the job I am doing and that the job that I was given was not meant for me.”
The author understands that some of the Zimbabwe cricketers including a few senior pros weren’t exactly happy with the approach of Ntini. His strict coaching methods were questioned and were under scrutiny. He was very critical of players who do not put much effort on fitness and training. The scenario was quite similar to what we experienced between Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli and Co. last year. In fact, according to some media reports, it was unlikely that Ntini’s two-year contract (due to expire later this month) would have been renewed.
However, Ntini further claimed in the interview that when he came to know about this unhappiness of the players, he individually spoke with them and tried to get this issue sorted. At that time no one came forward with any complaint.
“After I had that meeting with the MD [In September], I called them straight away, the players and the staff and I asked them. I said guys I just came back from the MD and he says that some of you said the job that I was appointed for was not meant for me. Who is that person? And that person, if he had a problem with me, he should have approached me. None of them actually had owned up. They were so shocked that was said about me,” Ntini said.
With Zimbabwe eyeing a spot in the 2019 World Cup and with the World Cup qualifiers due to be played in March this year, the board has been looking to have enough time on its side to find a suitable replacement. Thus, it is being learnt that this process of removing Ntini has been fast-tracked.
Before the all-important World Cup qualifiers at home, Zimbabwe’s next international assignment will be the tri-series in Bangladesh, involving the hosts and Sri Lanka.
Someone with a wealth of experience like Ntini has, could have been an asset for young and upcoming Zimbabwe bowlers. It is unfortunate that the former Protea speedster won’t be around to help these youngsters out anymore.