By Courage Pahla
THE sky is the limit, for the veteran cricketer Hamilton Masakadza who has been named as captain of the Zimbabwean cricket team for all three formats of international cricket for the 2019-20 season.
He replaces Graeme Cremer who has since put his cricket career on hold for family reasons.
Masakadza has been a vital cog within a national cricket team that had been scheduled to play a test and three ODIs in India in March.
But the tour hangs in balance as India host Australia in a limited overs series until mid-March, and the Indian Premier League T20 competition 10 days later, on March 23.
Being one of Zimbabwe’s leading run scorers in international formats, he is set to lead by example in bringing stability to the batting unit that has often been found wanting.
The fragile batting attack was exposed last year by the South Africa who took turns to hammer the inexperienced Zimbabweans, with Peter Moore being notable player able to provide resistance.
In an interview with Celebrity, Masakadza said he hopes to inspire and play a big part and in turning around the fortunes of Zimbabwe cricket.
“I am happy for the appointment of being a team leader. We have to motivate and inspire each other, starting from domestic competitions up to the international level. Every game will be quite important for the team because we have to start doing well. If we are not competitive, we will not be able to stand the heat that comes with playing against seasoned countries such as Australia, India and South Africa,” he said.
The Zimbabwean skipper believes it is just a matter of time before Zimbabwe gets back to winning ways and called upon cricket fans to be patient.
“The side is still rebuilding despite having players that have played cricket at the highest level. It is a learning process for everyone and people just have to be patient as the team learns the ropes,” he said.
The 35-year-old Masakadza was born in a family of cricketers with brothers Shingirai and Wellington also playing for the Zimbabwean team, all three have played domestically for the Mountaineers.
Masakadza turned in some impressive school-boy performances, especially with the bat and gradually developed as a cricketer.
Following India’s tour to Zimbabwe in June 2016, Masakadza became the first Zimbabwean cricketer to play in 50 Twenty20 International matches.
Cricket commentator and analyst Dean Du Plesis said he was excited with the appointment of Masakadza since he regards him as one of the most experienced and respected player in the team.
“It is a good decision since he has the pedigree with extensive experience of leading Zimbabwe, having captained in three tests, 20 One-Day Internationals and 11 Twenty20s,” he said.
With India’s tour in doubt, Zimbabwe is scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20s in Ireland in July.