June 12, 2001

Trevor Madondo's sudden death shocks cricket world

One of Zimbabwe's most promising black cricketers, Trevor Nyasha Madondo, died at Parirenyatwa Hospital in the capital on Monday morning at the age of 24.

Madondo, who was single at the time of his death, was attacked by a severe bout of malaria at the end of last month. He was admitted to Mutare General Hospital last Monday and was later transferred to Parirenyatwa on Thursday (7 June). He was buried at Yeoville Cemetery in Mutare on Tuesday afternoon.

Trevor, who represented Zimbabwe in the national team, the Board XI and Zimbabwe age-group teams, was born on 22nd November 1976 in Mount Darwin, about 180 kilometres north-east of Harare.

Nicknamed Baby Chingokes due to a supposed resemblance to ZCU president Peter Chingoka, Trevor was the first black cricketer to be selected for Zimbabwe as a batsman. His three predecessors, Everton Matambanadzo, Henry Olonga and Mpumelelo Mbangwa, are all pace bowlers.

As a right-handed batsman, Trevor played three Tests for Zimbabwe, scoring 90 runs. His Test debut was in the First Test against Pakistan at Queens Sports Club in March 1998. His last match was the drawn Boxing Day Test in Wellington, New Zealand, last December, when he made his highest score, an unbeaten 74.

Trevor played 13 one-day internationals in which he scored 191 runs. His debut was against India at Queens Sports Club while his last match was against the West Indies in a Carlton and United triangular series in Perth in January.

Trevor had not had time to perform at his best and in the few matches he played for Zimbabwe, he had looked talented but inexperienced. He tended to go for big shots rather than concentrate on working the ball around the field for singles. Unfortunately he was never in the national team for a long enough time to get the necessary experience.

The only notable exception was the 1999/2000 season, when he was given four one-day internationals in a row, but his top score was only 29.

His stint with the national team was interrupted by injuries, a slump in form and on some occasions his undisciplined lifestyle which landed him in trouble with the authorities.

Trevor has no family background in the game. He was sent to boarding school at Lilfordia, about 20 kilometres west of Harare, for his primary education. The headmaster at the school was Iain Campbell, father of former national captain Alistair. He inspired and nurtured Trevor's cricketing talent.

Trevor won a place in the Colts cricket team in Grade 3 and by the time he was in Grade 5, Trevor was already playing in the school's first team. He played as an opening bowler, right arm medium pace, and batted at number four. He also played for the school's rugby and hockey teams.

In Grade 6 he was selected for the Partridges, the national primary schools cricket team. In 1989 he won selection for the Mashonaland Country Districts primary schools select team which toured England.

Trevor then went to Falcon College in Bulawayo for his secondary education. The institution has produced many of Zimbabwe's Test players.

After two dormant years, Trevor began to keep wicket and this led to his selection for the Fawns, the national Under-15 team, and he went on the tour of Namibia in 1992.

He also represented Zimbabwe Schools in South Africa for two years. While still at school, Trevor was chosen to make his first-class debut, as a wicket-keeper, for Matabeleland against the touring county side Glamorgan. By then he was already playing club cricket for Old Miltonians, making thirties and forties with the bat.

After leaving school in 1995, Trevor won a place at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, to study for a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He played in the first team at Rhodes where he made a highest score of 77.

His university commitments prevented him from playing more regularly for Matabeleland in the Logan Cup. But he was a regular selection for the Zimbabwe Board XI to play in the UCBSA Bowl competition, when available. His best score was 86 against Transvaal B in a three-day match. In 1999 he was part of the first intake of the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy.

Trevor's death came at a time when the Zimbabwe Cricket Union was making genuine efforts to encourage black players with the formation of the Integration Task Force. He would, no doubt, have featured prominently in the latest plans.

ZCU president Peter Chingoka acknowledged that the country had lost a talented cricketer. May his soul rest in eternal peace.