The American presidential election this past week made me think of comparing
it with an exciting cricket match between, say, Manicaland and Midlands.
A thrilling finish, with everybody uncertain of the result as they awaited
the third umpire’s decision on a run-out attempt off the final ball -
but the players themselves were not of the highest quality.
Perhaps there are some fans of Bore or Gush (as many Americans have
called them) out there who resent that view of their favourite, and perhaps
the next president will indeed surprise those who underestimate him, but
there may also be those from Manicaland or Midlands who feel insulted
by the analogy. We are happy to include provincial reports from both those
provinces this week, which indicate that the game is thriving in the small
Zimbabwean cities of Mutare and Kwekwe.
A few years ago cricket of any quality in either centre appeared to
be a thing of the past. But a small number of dedicated men have changed
all that, and our correspondents are two who have been in the forefront.
From Manicaland we have former national all-rounder Mark Burmester, current
captain of the province, and from Midlands Ken Connelly, Logan Cup player
last season, and current provincial chairman and holder of the ZCU Administrator
of the Year award for his achievements in that area. We hope that they,
along with former national all-rounder Derrick Townshend from Matabeleland,
will be regular contributors. Unfortunately we have so far been unable
to find a willing contributor from Masvingo, which may well along with
the Lowveld be the next team to join the Logan Cup. [More]
Guy Whittall is the sort of all-rounder that England would love to have:
an aggressive middle-order batsman who can score useful runs, even centuries,
at Test level, and a nippy medium-pace change bowler with the knack of
taking useful wickets (especially against England), besides being a very
good outfielder with a fine throw. Since making his debut in Pakistan,
he has been a regular in the national side when fit.
is one of the many national cricketers to attend Ruzawi School and Falcon
College. His early life was spent on the family ranch in the Lowveld (see
also the biography for Andrew Whittall), and he attended his schools as
a boarder. His parents would often play cricket with Guy and his cousin
Andrew, and his grandfather had been a good cricketer at Rugby School,
England. Guy remembers that once, after scoring a century in a school
match and feeling very pleased with himself, his grandfather bowled him
out first ball. Guy said to him, "You won't do that again" -- whereupon
he promptly bowled him second ball as well!
'Travis Friend' is an unlikely name for a fast
bowler, and in a way Travis is an unlikely person for a fast bowler either.
He has the powerful build associated with the tradition of express bowling,
but his modest, friendly personality hardly seems to fit in with the intensity
and hostility of the likes of Dennis Lillee, Curly Ambrose and others.
Yet Henry Olonga has a similar personality, and Travis is now probably
the fastest bowler in Zimbabwe after Henry. He is also a top-order batsman,
so he has the potential to fill for Zimbabwe a role rather like that of
South African Jacques Kallis, who is actually Travis' foremost cricket
Travis is the son of Ian Friend, a medium-pace bowler who played two first-class
matches for Rhodesia B in 1978/79, and one who 'always used to say he
thought he was a batsman, but he batted at 11 so he never scored runs'!
Cricket is a long tradition in the Friend family, as his great-grandfather
also played Logan Cup cricket and his grandfather was a Nuffield player.
Travis' first introduction to the game came in the family garden, and
he used to play a lot with his older brother Jason. "It was really a challenge
and we used to get quite hyped up about the game," Travis says. "It was
good - all that has helped me get where I am now."
As the second year of the CFX Academy in Harare draws to a close, director
Gwynne Jones talks to John Ward about how it is all going and the plans
for the future. First of all, here is an official resume from the Academy
The CFX Academy in Zimbabwe was established by Dave Houghton who raised
the initial capital with his sponsored walk from Bulawayo to Harare which
took 22 days in June 1998 and raised over $900 000.
The CFX is a non-profit organization funded by the community at large
and the business community in particular. A fully equipped pavilion with
state-of-the-art presentation facilities is nearing completion. The ground
has been upgraded and now has a wicket that the New Zealanders described
as the best wicket they had played on. Bob Woolmer, on a recent coaching
visit, commented that the Academy’s facilities were among the best he
had seen anywhere in the world. The initial set-up of six all-weather
nets with floodlights, three turf nets and three cricket cages to be used
on the main wicket were included in the original capital budget. The operating
budget is now over $4 million per annum. [More]
AND VILJOEN SINK UNIVERSALS
Club cricket report by Clive Ruffell
the marginally early wet weather that the country has experienced of late,
all of the Castle Lager National First League matches were played this
weekend with minimal disruption. In contrast to the matches played to
date this season, it was the batsmen who tended to dominate proceedings,
and Trevor Penney and Dirk Viljoen notched up the first centuries of the
By Derrick Townshend
the re-scheduling of the Logan Club, the only cricket in Matabeleland
is the National League. The following Matabeleland players have however
been involved in a tournament and trials. The Africa Cup was held in Nairobi
in late August and three Matabeleland players, Ian Engelbrecht, Matt Townshend
and Charles Coventry, were selected for the Zimbabwe Development Team
which reached the final, losing to Kenya. Engelbrecht was the bowler of
the tournament with eight wickets and Townshend runner-up with seven.
IN MANICALAND ALIVE AND WELL
By Mark Burmester (Manicaland correspondent)
When times are hard people turn to the things they enjoy and can rely
on. In Manicaland this form of refuge for many has taken the form of cricket.
The game is being played by all ages and in a couple of different forms,
and in our province we encourage the active participation of the ladies
in the community. More details to follow in future issues. [More]
By Ken Connelly Midlands Cricket
has secured a sponsor for the season in Stanbic Bank, Zimbabwe, Limited.
At a presentation during the Zimbabwe A v New Zealand game at Kwekwe in
September the Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, Mr Greg Brackenridge,
handed over a cheque for $ 250 000.00 to Midlands Chairman Ken Connelly.
of the Week
Viljoen has his stumps shaken by Prasad
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