Zimbabwe news January 31, 2016

Hamilton Masakadza named Zimbabwe captain

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Hamilton Masakadza has previously filled in as captain in 12 international matches © AFP

Hamilton Masakadza has been appointed Zimbabwe's captain in all three formats following Elton Chigumbura's resignation. Legspinner Graeme Cremer has been named vice-captain.

"It is very exciting, because it is a big honour to lead your country," Masakadza told the Sunday News. "It is an exciting challenge I am looking forward to. I was not exactly expecting this. I didn't think I was going to be one of the front runners. I have been waiting for my turn for such a long time, I never thought it was going to come, I thought it had evaded me."

A long-term vice-captain, Masakadza has also filled in as captain in 12 internationals when injury or absence ruled out the regular skipper. He also has extensive captaincy experience at domestic level, having led Easterns under the old domestic system and Mountaineers when Zimbabwe adopted the franchise system.

Cremer is new to vice-captaincy at national level, but was a senior member of the Mid West Rhinos for several years before his hiatus from the game, and has skippered the Zimbabwe Board XI and provincial sides on occasion. Both men are also in sparkling form in the game's shortest format, with Masakadza currently ranked eighth in the T20 batting rankings, while Cremer is ranked fifth as a bowler.

"Both Masakadza and Cremer are senior players who have shown their leadership abilities working with previous captains," ZC managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa said. "We have no doubt they will be successful in their substantive posts, which come at a time when both are in the top 10 of the ICC T20I Player Rankings for batsmen and bowlers respectively."

Masakadza's ascent to the captaincy is all the more remarkable because he was dropped from the national squad in October after a middling year with the bat. He was recalled for Zimbabwe's trip to Sharjah, scoring his fourth ODI hundred during the tour. His returns from Zimbabwe's four-match T20 series were even more impressive, with Masakadza scoring 222 runs to take the record for most T20 runs in a bilateral series and became the first Zimbabwean to reach 3,000 runs in T20 cricket.

"I never for a moment thought my career was over, I still have a lot in me," Masakadza said. "I still have a few years. At the moment I want to play through to the next 50 over World Cup."

Once thought too slow even for ODI cricket early in his career, Masakadza has evolved into a stroke-playing batsman across all formats. "Naturally I play a slow game, I start my innings slowly and when T20 cricket came I thought that was the end of my cricket. I have been working hard on my game and processes. I have always worked on my game and fitness. When I was dropped I did not feel out of touch. I didn't think I was struggling with my game that time, but still I went and worked hard, something I have always done in my career."

The Zimbabwe administration is working on securing short format fixtures for the national side ahead of the World T20 in March, which will be Masakadza's first major challenge as captain. Zimbabwe will play Hong Kong, Scotland and Afghanistan in a qualifying round ahead of the tournament proper, and Masakadza's form is likely to be vital for his team.

"Our chances are high," Masakadza said. "On paper we are better than those teams. I hope to maintain my form and win games for the team."

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CicCacCoe on February 4, 2016, 6:48 GMT

    Congrats to Hami for captaincy role, but as a captain he should be able to perform consistently well and bring in new tactics for Zim, not just follow whatever his predecessor did. But now the question is what will happen to Chigu? Struggled a lot with both bat and ball and if captaincy was the burden, he should have left it long back and concentrated on his skills.

  • Stone_wall on February 4, 2016, 1:24 GMT

    @OUTKAST mate you are a complete nutter. The guy is ranked number 5 in the world in T20I's and you still choose to criticise him claiming he is hiding from the opposition. Do you make these statements to annoy other readers who are more learned than you are in the game of cricket?

  • ZCFOutkast on February 1, 2016, 16:00 GMT

    @SWIZZARNOLD Wellington's figures are under his profile, just like every other player. No negativity in saying Hami captaincy selection is long overdue. Equally there is no negativity in saying India, Pakistan, West Indies would never use Ashwin Afridi, Narine, at 6th change in ODIs&T20s in the subcontinent, then name them captain. Cremer(shocking Test selection) must open the bowling in such conditions. That's a proper&accurate cricket argument, nothing personal. The "negative" Utseya you refer to opened the bowling several times. He would never hide. Likewise Mangongo would never be silly enough to refer to someone as a "lead spinner" then use them so late when the damage is already done, the batsmen taking risks to add to the total, then call it a success when a legspinner is being smashed while collecting wickets of positive batsmen. In the end the team still loses. Cremer must NEVER bowl later than 2nd change in LOIs. Period! If you disagree show me the 4 quality Zimbabwe seamers.

  •   Swizz Arnold on February 1, 2016, 14:19 GMT

    Zcfoutcast I think you are too negative and one would think that you are eith madondo or prosper utseya. cremer is a good choice and his figures explain themselves. you talk of wellington . where are his figures?

  • Anti_ZCFOutkast on February 1, 2016, 0:01 GMT

    Two good choices. Hammy will lead by example with the bat, and Cremer has been world class with the ball as of late.

  • TUSHAR-M on January 31, 2016, 23:26 GMT

    Yes S. Raza as Vice Captain would have been a better choice. But why could they not select different Captain's for different formats. This way he could focus on Test matches in which area they are certainly lagging. Maybe Hamilton will bring a turnaround. We all need Zimbabwe to compete in Test Cricket now that Ireland may join the rest in Test Cricket. Good Luck Hami. and the rest of the team for the future.

  • ZCFOutkast on January 31, 2016, 17:39 GMT

    Should have been named captain of all formats when ZImbabwe resumed Tests in 2011. He's always been the leader of the side. As for Graeme Cremer, a captain or vice-captain leads from the front. How will he do that fro 5th or 6th change??? WIll he finally take the new ball in spinner conditions? Or will he continue to leave that to Wellington Masakadza, Tendai Chisoro & John Nyumbu? ZC must move away from making decisions to save face. Vusi Sibanda, Sean Williams or Panyangara were the right options for Vice-Captain.

  • J.G.1 on January 31, 2016, 14:36 GMT

    Really glad for him. Masakadza has been unlucky enough to be playing in an era where Zim play little test match cricket. He could have had a fine test career! I hope he lifts the team to a respectable showing at the World T20 and that they can actually tour a major nation playing tests!

  • CricketChat on January 31, 2016, 13:26 GMT

    Both good and correct selections. Initially, I thought Sikandar Raza would be made captain, but he can't buy a run these days and in clear danger of losing his place in the altogether. Zim has had rough time since departure of BRM Taylor. so much so they started losing to even associates. Hopefully, these changes will help lift their on field performances.

  • Farhan Rahman on January 31, 2016, 13:25 GMT

    what a downfall for Zimbabwe cricket. They were playing good cricket but the exodus of stars like Goodwin, Ervine, Johnson in addition to retirements of Flower brothers and their bickering hasn't helped their cricket.

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