HARARE – Zimbabwe cricket assistant coach Stephen Mangongo is satisfied with the just-ended tour by Bangladesh that opened doors to a number of fringe players.
The series saw fringe players Shingi Masakadza and Keegan Meth playing a key role with ball while also contributing significantly with the bat.
Forgotten seamers, Tinashe Panyangara and Brian Vitori, also got the nod in the limited overs.
The team’s seasoned campaigners, captain Brendan Taylor, top order batsman Hamilton Masakadza and opener Vusi Sibanda all picked up vital centuries during the series.
Returning middle-order batsman Sean Williams chipped in with two half centuries in the ODI series.
Zimbabwe drew the Test match series 1-1 before going onto win the One Day Internationals 2-1.
The two teams then drew 1-1 in the Twenty20 series that ended at the weekend at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
“It was a tricky assignment,” Mangongo told the Daily News yesterday. “I didn’t have much time with the guys coming from the West Indies where we were thrashed.
“There was low player-morale when I was thrust into the hot seat. I had to change the habits in those two weeks I had prior to the Bangladesh series.
“The players usually like to live in their comfort zones and it wasn’t easy but I am a satisfied man. We always talk about dignity and respect, which is exactly what the players did for the nation.”
Mangongo was only in charge of the team for the Tigers’ series and now reverts back to the position of assistant coach to the newly appointed Andrew Waller.
“This is the first time in the history of Zimbabwe cricket that so many people have been given opportunities in a single series,” Mangongo added.
“It’s been too much of a closed shop, we need to open up and give more guys a chance. The convenor of selectors should be applauded for that.
“We shared the same vision and he was very helpful in opening up the spectrum of the scope where we can get more players which is very important for the team.”
There was an outcry just before the first Test match when Shingi Masakadza was picked in the squad ahead of Tendai Chatara.
The bone of contention was that Chatara had accounted himself well in the disappointing tour of West Indies in March hence he had an edge over his pace counterpart.
“I was impressed with the way the back benchers Shingi and Keegan stood up in the Tests,” said Mangongo.
“Shingi showed that he is a serious contender for an all-rounder place while Keegan was the tightest of Zimbabwe bowlers, he bowled in key moments despite all his struggles with his knee injury.
“In the batting department, (Timycen) Maruma was given a chance not ideally but because we had no choice.
“Traditionally he is a middle-order batsman but he was brave enough to open the bat when no other batsman would have loved to do so.”