English County cricket side Somerset have announced that their bowling Steve Kirby will be leaving the club at the end of the season to take up the position of lead bowling coach for the Zimbabwe cricket team.
Zimbabwe Cricket have been searching for a bowling coach for the past few months to replace Danny Hondo, who was reassigned to another role.
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.
“When this opportunity came along, I felt it was one that was too good to ignore,” he told the Somerset website. “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,” he said.
“I’ve worked really well with Dave Houghton (Zimbabwe Head Coach) previously when we are 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.”
Kirby is a 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.
On leaving the club, he said: “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.
“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.
“It’s with a very heavy heart that I’m leaving but hopefully the door will always be open for me to come back one day.”
Somerset County Cricket Club director of cricket, Andy Hurry has thanked Steve for his hard work.
“Steve’s dedication and commitment to the role and the Club over the past two years has been outstanding,” he said.
“Since joining up with the staff in early 2021 he has built up some very strong relationships and has played a key role in the growth of our bowler’s white-ball skills as well as being integral in overseeing the progression of a number of bowlers through to the First XI.
“His energy and passion for Somerset cricket shines through everything he does and there is no doubt we will really miss him. He is a popular figure amongst the players, the staff and our Members, and on behalf of everyone, we thank him for his unconditional contributions and wish him every success in his coaching career moving forward.
“We will be advertising for a new bowling coach and further announcements will be made in that regard in due course.”