Wisdom Siziba 1980-2009 April 23, 2009

Wisdom Siziba dies aged 28

Wisdom Siziba, one of many cricketers lost to Zimbabwe in recent years, has died in South Africa at the age of 28.

Siziba, who was an epileptic, died from heart failure while doing his laundry. He was alone at home at the time and his body was found by his sister. He will be buried in Bulawayo on Saturday.

Siziba was a wicketkeeper-batsman from the high-density western suburbs of Bulawayo who enjoyed a relatively productive domestic career before joining the mass exodus from Zimbabwe to South Africa which has been a hallmark of the later years of the Mugabe regime.

He either opened or batted in the lower middle-order, and made a memorable debut for Matabeleland, carrying his bat for a four-hour 40. By far his most successful season came in 2001-02 when he scored 423 runs at 42.30, including his only first-class hundred, 103 opening the innings against Midlands. His last season was in 2004-05, and as Zimbabwe's cricketing infrastructure began to crumble, he was one of many lost to the game.

He did not have a job after leaving school, preferring to earn his keep helping the ZCU with coaching, and as he attended a non cricket-playing school, he often had to make great sacrifices to continue playing. While he possibly lacked the footwork to succeed as a batsman at a higher level, he would have make an increasing impact in the first-class circuit.

Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare