June 12, 2001

Cricket world shocked by Madondo's untimely death

One of the more difficult tasks a cricket writer embarks on is the writing of an obituary. It is with a touch of sadness that one records the passing of Trevor Nyasha Madondo, aged just 24 years. A talented Zimbabwean middle order batsman, Madondo was one of the most promising black cricketers in Zimbabwe when he succumbed to malaria at the Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare on June 11.

When Zimbabwe came to India in late 2000, they arrived with high hopes for Madondo. In the first warm up game that was played against the National Cricket Academy at Indore, Madondo came good with the bat. A batsman who favoured the classical approach to the game, Madondo notched up a quick 28 (34 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) in the first innings batting at number six. Tackling the spinners well, Madondo showed that he was capable of adapting to Indian conditions and using his feet well. In the second innings of the same game, skipper Guy Whittall thought it fit to promote Madondo, sending him in at number three. With two wickets falling in a hurry, Madondo was forced to consolidate. Settling in well, driving through the offside with aplomb, Madondo compiled 65 (138 minutes, 7 fours) and put on 122 with Andy Flower.

But that was Madondo's best effort on tour. The second tour match yielded scores of 26 and 17. The tour match however, showed another side of Madondo. In the second innings, Andy Flower took a break behind the stumps and Madondo donned the gloves. Tidy behind the stumps, Madondo made his contribution to a Zimbabwean victory.

Not picked to play either of the two Tests, Madondo had to be content watching from the sidelines.

In the one-day series however, Madondo was picked to play both the fourth and fifth matches. The big moment for the youngster came when he top scored in the final one-dayer at Rajkot. Making a 70-ball 71 (10 fours) at the top of the order, Madondo gave Zimbabwe a fighting chance of chasing a mammoth Indian total of 302.

In 13 limited overs games, Madondo's top score was 71. In all, Madondo played only three Tests, and made a highest score of 74 not out against New Zealand at Wellington in December last year. Sadly, that was the last Test innings Madondo played.

The cricket world is shocked by the passing of a talented cricketer so young. Perhaps a death of someone so young causes more grief than the death of someone in advanced years. In conversation, Madondo came across as an enthusiastic, cheerful young cricketer.

A memorial service was held in Harare on Monday and he was buried the next day.