ZIMABABWE Cricket is set to strengthen the national team’s technical department following the appointment of former English first class cricketer Steve Kirby as the new lead bowling coach of the rejuvenated Chevrons.
The 44-year-old Kirby, who played for English county cricket sides Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset, before retiring from playing in 2014, will join the Chevrons technical team which is headed by former Zimbabwe captain Dave Houghton.
Kirby’s move to Zimbabwe comes after a successful stint in the same capacity at Somerset since December 2020 after joining the side from Derbyshire, where he was part of Houghton’s backroom staff.
The former fast bowler played for Somerset between 2011 and 2014, claiming over 180 wickets across the three formats of the game and re-joined the club as a coach ahead of the 2021 season.
Kirby will be leaving Somerset at the end of the season to take up the position of lead bowling coach for the Zimbabwe team ahead of their participation at the T20 World Cup in Australia.
In an interview with Somerset’s official website yesterday, Kirby said he was looking forward to reuniting with Houghton, who he worked closely with at Derbyshire.
“I genuinely love the club and I’m going to miss everyone immensely. I’ve built up some amazing relationships over the past two years and it’s been really pleasing to see some of the younger bowlers coming through into the first team,” Kirby said.
“However, when this opportunity came along, I felt it was one that was too good to ignore. I’ve got aspirations to be the very best coach that I can be, and international cricket is something that I really want to be involved with.”
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He also highlighted that his new role with Zimbabwe Cricket would include working with local players not only at national team level, but across local cricket’s development structures.
“I’ve worked really well with Dave Houghton previously when we were at Derbyshire and when this position presented itself, I felt that I couldn’t turn it down. The scale of the role is hugely exciting because I won’t just be working with the national XI, I’ll also be involved with the whole pathway structure across the country,” he said.
Kirby also bade an emotional farewell to Somerset.
“Somerset have been unbelievably supportive throughout this whole process, and I’m particularly grateful to Jason Kerr and Andy Hurry for the support that they have given me. I have never been at a club that is as well supported as Somerset. We are unbelievably lucky to get such great backing. I would like to thank the members and supporters for welcoming me as both a player and a coach, and we’ll be doing everything we can to win the last four games of the season. It is with a very heavy heart that I’m leaving, but hopefully the door will always be open for me to come back one day,” he said.