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January 17, 2003
FULL NAME: Daniel James Peacock
BORN: 26 April 1975, at Reading (England)
MAJOR TEAMS: Mashonaland (1998/99-1999/2000)
KNOWN AS: Dan Peacock
BATTING STYLE: Right Hand Bat
BOWLING STYLE: Right Arm Off Spin
OCCUPATION: Career in financial services industry in England
FIRST-CLASS DEBUT: Mashonaland A v Matabeleland, at Bulawayo Athletic Club, 19-21 January 1999
TEST DEBUT: None
ODI DEBUT: None
BIOGRAPHY (updated January 2003)
Dan Peacock was a promising young cricketer who was sadly lost to Zimbabwe cricket just when it was hoped he might develop into what seems to be a rarity in modern cricket: a spin-bowling all-rounder. He was primarily an off-spinner, but was also a very capable batsman who had ambitions to bat in the top six.
Dan was born in Reading, Berkshire, in England, of a Zimbabwean mother and an English father who played Minor Counties cricket. At the age of two Dan and his family moved to Rhodesia, as it then was, despite the war-torn situation of the country in the late seventies, due to the difficulty his father was finding in getting suitable employment in England. His father had two job offers, one in the United States and the other in Rhodesia. He chose the Rhodesian option, as it would allow Dan's mother to be nearer to her friends and family, and also, as Dan says, it `would allow Tom and me to have the best upbringing any child could ask for'.
Dan's younger brother Tom played cricket at school, including inter-provincial at Under-13 and Under-15 levels, but later gave it up. They played a lot of family cricket together, with friends often included, and Dan pays tribute to his father, who taught him the basics of the game when he was five years old, constructing a net, bowling to him and teaching him the basics of his bowling style.
Dan attended North Park Primary School in Harare, where he was first coached by Heurtley Muller who helped to instill a love of cricket into him. He played two years for the school colts team and another two in the school first team. He was an all-rounder in those days as well, although bowling medium-pacers, only changing to spin at senior school. He remembers taking eight wickets for about 12 runs in one school match, and also scoring a couple of fifties. He also played two years for Harare East in the national primary schools cricket week and in his second year was selected for the national side.
He progressed to St George's College, where in his first year he was coached by Mike Nash, who was very strong on the disciplines of the game, followed by Robin Stokes, Bill Flower, Dhan Kalan, Peter Johnson and Shane Cloete in his final year, when he captained the team. All played their part in his progress. In one match at Under-14 level he scored 129 against Eaglesvale, but his bowling took longer to develop. He changed to bowling off-spin, knowing that he could not bowl as quickly as other pace bowlers in his team, and seeing the need for an off-spinner in the side. He taught himself rather than relying on any particular coach, although Mike Nash gave him a few pointers. Later on he took eight wickets in an innings in one match for the school first team. He and Brian Murphy, leg-spin, formed a good spin-bowling combination for the school.
He did have one particular problem that Bill Flower helped to sort out. Dan has always had a hearing problem that seemed to intensify in his teens, and it reached the stage where he often could not hear his partner calling when batting or follow his captain's instructions on the field. Bill spoke to his parents and they arranged for him to be fitted with a hearing aid, although Dan himself resisted it at first, being unwilling to be seen to be handicapped in any way. But Bill says that `this opened up a whole new world for him', and his game took off much more quickly after that.
At Under-15 level Dan was also selected for the national team, although the team itself did not play a match, as links with South Africa had not yet been re-established. At the age of 15 he started to play club cricket, for Old Georgians initially, but he was not happy there and soon moved to Harare Sports Club. He was selected for the Mashonaland Under-19 team and played for two years in the national schools side, going on tour to Denmark with that team, captained then by Alistair Campbell and also containing such players as Heath Streak and Craig Wishart. This was followed by a quadrangular tournament in South Africa also involving India and England, where Zimbabwe finished equal second, beating England and India but losing out to India on run rate for a place in the final against South Africa. His best figures, in limited-over cricket, were three for 26 off ten overs.
On leaving school, in 1994 Dan went to the University of Cape Town to do a four-year Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounts and economics, where he played for the university second team, progressing to the firsts towards the end of his second year. He played in the South African Universities Week three times, but confesses to losing some of his interest in the game as well due to difficulties with one of the coaches. During his holidays he frequently played for the Zimbabwe Board XI in the UCBSA Bowl Competition, which he feels was mostly as a result of his sound past performances for Zimbabwe Schools. He remembers in a match against Namibia he took five wickets in the first innings and three in the second.
After leaving university, Dan returned to Harare in 1998 and spent a year working as an accountant, but did not enjoy the job, although his company Ernst and Young treated him very well with regard to his cricket commitments. He had a good club season, including a score of 105 against Alexandra Sports Club, and also played for Zimbabwe A against the touring England A team. He told the Zimbabwe Cricket Union that he was committed primarily to cricket in the future; he played for four months living on savings, and then went to Scotland as a professional for Selkirk. He scored a couple of centuries for the club before returning to Zimbabwe to take up a six-month contract with the ZCU.
He was selected for a warm-up game against Western Province at the start of the 1999/2000 season, but was told that he would not be going on the Board XI tour as the selectors wanted him to stay in the squad to play Australia. Unfortunately in that Western Province match he broke his leg fielding on the boundary, the only serious cricket injury he has ever had. He tried to make a sliding stop, but his studs caught in the ground and his whole body weight fell on his ankle. It put him out of cricket for four months, and he had to undergo a great deal of physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatment before he was fit to play again. Conceivably it may have cost him a Test place, as Zimbabwe were very short of spin bowlers against Sri Lanka and Ray Price eventually won selection in the final Test, when good performances by Dan might have given him that place. He was actually told that the selectors had planned to use him in a one-day international against Australia.
The selectors had not forgotten him, and although his leg was still giving him a little trouble at times he was selected for the Mashonaland Logan Cup team, and then for the Zimbabwe A team to tour Sri Lanka. Dan put his selection for that tour down more to the selectors' faith in him rather than any current performances.
Further events leading up to September 2000 brought his first-class career apparently to an abrupt end. He played in a warm-up match for the President's XI against the touring New Zealanders, but did not take a wicket. However the Zimbabwe Cricket Union still asked him to attend practice for the Second Test against New Zealand later that month.
Dan, however, politely told them he was not available and was leaving Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom. He gave several reasons for his decision. Firstly, he strongly disagreed with the selection policy that had come to a head in the First Test, when Guy Whittall had declined to play in protest against selection based on race rather than merit.
Secondly, he felt the contract he had been offered by the ZCU was totally inadequate financially; at that time also the players were engaged in an ongoing battle with the Union over pay. Other reasons were that he felt a young person of his age had no future in the Zimbabwean economy, and also `a certain young lady was living in the UK' who had attracted his attention.
He left Zimbabwe on 23 September 2000, and picked up a temporary job in Southampton as a systems accountant with Cobra Installations when visiting Linelle, now his fiancée, there. Later he joined an agency called Grist Personnel, whose director was Neil Trestrail of the MCC. Neil was also captain of Lymington Cricket Club and quickly persuaded Dan to join them. Lymington plays in the Hampshire `Silver' premier league, and Dan has played for them since 2001, being appointed captain in 2002. Grist also found him a position at Winterthur Life UK Ltd, for whom he has worked since 30 November 2001.
Dan and Linelle spent three months at that time touring Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific islands. Despite the team's inconsistency, Lymington finished third in the league under Dan's captaincy in 2002, and Dan also played a couple of matches for the Hampshire Cricket Board XI.
Dan returns for six weeks in March 2003 to Zimbabwe, where his marriage to Linelle will take place in April. He says, "I am currently making a career in the financial services industry, but my passion for cricket keeps my eye open for positions in the cricket world." Unfortunately, barring remarkable circumstances, it appears that his career in Zimbabwe is over.
As a batsman Dan is a strong front-foot driver who can also pull well, and as a bowler he likes to flight the ball rather than push it through. "When it comes to spin bowling you should have loop, turn and bounce," he says. All are important, but when pushed he thinks that loop is perhaps the most important element in his bowling style. He pays tribute to John Traicos as a coach who has helped him a great deal, and he also spoke to John Emburey who came with the England A team. He usually fields in the middle distance.
Toughest opponents: "Craig Wishart is one of the most difficult to bowl to. I'd say Stuart Carlisle as well. They use their feet well to score. Andy Flower and Grant, because Grant comes down at you hard; he doesn't let you get on top of him. And when batting, I'd have to say Streaky [Heath Streak], Paul Strang - there are just some of his balls you can't pick - and Henry [Olonga], although it's been a while since I've faced him. He's picked up a couple of yards and a bit of direction since then. Carl Rackemann seems to have done a good job there."
Proudest achievement: "On that last tour, against Border for Zimbabwe B, I batted with Dirk Viljoen, going in number eleven - I was quite insulted about that - but we put on 100 together for the tenth wicket, and the team made about 240. Then I bowled and got four wickets in that innings. In the second innings I went in number three - from eleven to number three! - and got 45 before being run out by Stuart Carlisle, then the next day I got three wickets in their innings and we won the game. Then the next day, in the one-day match, the same thing: Andy Blignaut and I hit the winning runs after being eight down. It was the last game in the B Section and enabled us to move up a section."
Best friend in cricket: "Trevor Gripper."
Other sports: "I played two years of rugby for the school first team, hockey at junior school, I played representative tennis for Mashonaland; I play squash - anything involving a ball."
Other interests: "I like travelling, socializing, meeting people, seeing different places, spending time at Kariba."
Cricket hero as a teenager: "Ian Botham."
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