March 23, 2001

Guy Croxford: updated biography

FULL NAME: Guy Mark Croxford
BORN: At Harare, 2 June 1981
MAJOR TEAMS: CFX Academy (2000/01). Current club side: Harare Sports Club
KNOWN AS: Guy Croxford. Nicknames: Croxy, Crocker (from hockey)
BOWLING STYLE: Right Arm Medium Pace
OCCUPATION: CFX Academy student

FIRST-CLASS DEBUT: 16-18 February 2001, CFX Academy v Mashonaland, at Harare Sports Club
TEST DEBUT: Still awaited
ODI DEBUT: Still awaited

BIOGRAPHY (March 2001)

One of the most impressive CFX Academy batsmen in the opening matches of the 2000/01 Logan Cup programme was the team's aggressive middle-order batsman Guy Croxford. Guy has a useful cricketing pedigree, as his father played for Umtali (now Mutare) Boys High School primarily as an opening bowler, and his older brother Richard was a wicket-keeper/batsman before a car accident damaged his back and ended his cricket prematurely. "I just took the batting a little bit further," says Guy. "I used to bowl a bit, but now I concentrate more on my batting. I'm a part-time bowler."

Naturally Guy's first contacts with cricket came at home, where his father coached him and his brother from the age of about four. He built a cricket pitch at home and whenever the boys returned home from boarding school he would spend an hour or two after work each day playing with and coaching them.

Guy could not have enjoyed a better grounding in the game than his parents' choice of schools for him. Primary school was at Lilfordia, just to the west of Harare, when Iain Campbell, father of Alistair, was head for many years. His first coach was Mr Davies who Guy said "was outstanding; he was the coach who got me on track. He pushed me on to get my hundreds and gave me extra coaching time. He perfected my game to quite a good art, especially my batting."

Guy hit, he believes, nine centuries at Lilfordia, five in the colts and four in the first team, and at least thirty other innings of 50 or more. His highest score was 128 not out against Lomagundi Primary. He bowled more in those days and once took five wickets for 31 runs at colts level in a festival match. He also captained his teams. Surprisingly he never won a place in the national primary schools team, just missing selection in Grade Six and being promoted to Form One level in his final year, where he made the national Under-13 team.

His high school was Falcon College, where his first year proved to be rather disappointing, but he still managed to make the national age-group team, which he did consistently each year of his school career after that. His first tour was with the Under-13 team to the South African Week at Paarl in 1994. The following year the Under-14 team went to Potchefstroom, where Guy scored 168 against Border, as well as two fifties. That, he considers, was his best tour, as well as the highest score he has made in any class of cricket.

Other tours include the Under-15 World Cup in England in 1996, where he scored a century against Holland, and the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2000. His best score was 61 against Namibia, but otherwise he seemed consistently to score thirties and forties.

For Falcon he was not as prolific as he had been for Lilfordia, his highest score being 104 against Peterhouse. He was in the first team for three years, and occasionally bowled his medium-paced inswingers to rest the main bowlers. He pays tribute to the coaching he received from Dave Fleming especially at Falcon, and also Dave Grant. Dave Fleming became the technical coach at the College and his use of the camera to hone Guy's technique was invaluable. He played club cricket for Crescent in Bulawayo, where he was well looked after and paid for his services. His best score for them was 159 against Harare Sports Club second team. He has also played winter cricket occasionally for Bindura.

After leaving school he took a gap year when he worked for his mother, who exports flowers to Europe and North America. He planned to attend the Australian Academy in 2001, thanks to the efforts of his cousins who live over there, but the money required proved beyond their range. CFX Academy director Gwynne Jones spoke to Guy in November 2000 about attending the Academy, which at that time was fully booked for 2001. But Guy followed it up in January, to find that one player withdrew ten days before the Academy year started and Guy was offered the vacancy at the last minute. He had planned to play for Pulborough in Sussex, his brother's former club, during 2001 but had to withdraw after his selection for the Academy.

As a batsman Guy `likes to get my arms loose', enjoying the cut and the drive, while he can also hook and pull capably. He prefers to bat at number four or five in the order, and expresses a preference for `the bowlers who come on to the bat', although he believes he can handle spin. In the field he used to specialize in the backward point position until there was a need for a first slip, and he found he enjoyed it and was successful, so that is his usual position nowadays.

Guy pays tribute to the coaching of Dave Houghton: "He's really helped me on my way and I really appreciate the time and effort he's put into me. Bob Simpson, who has just come out from Australia, has also helped me a lot and improved my technique in just the two days he was at the Academy and made me face the quickies a lot better."

Cricket heroes: Steve Waugh: "he's my role model and if I can get up to his level at all I'll be really happy."

Toughest opponents: "This chap down south whose name was Nkomo, when we went down to play Western Province, I think is the best bowler I've ever faced. Brighton Watambwa is not as speedy but a very correct bowler, who gave me quite a few problems in my weak areas."

Personal ambitions: "I want to get my technique right and make sure I'm playing really well before I get a shot at the national side. I'm not looking to make it this year, but mainly towards the end of next year, or the year after, definitely. I just want to make sure everything is 100% and I'm batting really well and have all my faults fixed and my strengths honed before I get a shot at the national side. I want to get at least one hundred in the Logan Cup, and past fifty at least in the next two matches, or else I let myself down."

Proudest achievement so far: "MY 168 against Border, and the 80 in this match [against Mashonaland A]; my first first-class fifty is really special."

Best friends in cricket: "My flatmates, Campbell McMillan and Matthew Townshend. Also Ryan Butterworth. They always keep me going and when I am down they just chivvy me on."

Other qualifications: Two passes at A-level in business studies and geography. If he wasn't playing cricket? "My dad wanted me to take over his electrical engineering business and my mum wanted me to take over her exporting of flowers."

Other sports: "Hockey was brilliant" [four years in the school first team]. "If I didn't play cricket I'd definitely play hockey." Also squash and rugby. "I made a couple of Zimbabwe rugby sides but gave it up in Form Three. I've been asked to play hockey a couple of times since, but I don't have the time on my hands."

Outside interests: Fishing, especially deep-sea fishing.