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Zimbabwe search for fast-bowling talent

Cricinfo staff

March 30, 2010

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Heath Streak, Zimbabwe's bowling coach, at one of ZC's fast-bowling trials, March 30, 2010
Heath Streak, Zimbabwe's bowling coach, has been part of ZC's campaign to unearth fast-bowling talent © Zimbabwe Cricket
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Players/Officials: Kevin Curran
Teams: Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Cricket's nationwide campaign to unearth pace bowling talent, which began with trials in Bulawayo on March 23, before moving to Kwekwe, Kadoma and Masvingo, has attracted attention from an interesting variety of fast-bowling hopefuls.

Among the high turnout of regional club players at the Bulawayo trials were an uncoached young bowler with a slinging action reminiscent of Lasith Malinga, a forty-year-old left-arm seamer who was inspired to revive his cricket career, and a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who turned up for a chance to exhibit his fast-bowling credentials.

When the selection team travelled to Kadoma, not traditionally known as a hotbed of cricketing talent, they were surprised to find two very tall and strongly built young men who apparently showed great potential. "Kadoma is quiet town with not as much competitive cricket being played as compared to Harare and Bulawayo and it is a huge eye-opener to discover these boys and I hope they will make in the final selection in Harare on April 10," said selector and judge Kevin Curran.

When the trials moved to Masvingo, people travelled from all over the province to audition, but none came from further away than four young cricketers who journeyed more than 200km from Chiredzi to have the opportunity to fulfil their cricketing dreams. Through their sheer determination and a display of raw talent at the trials, two of the boys were selected to progress to the final selection.

"It is amazing how well some of these guys bowl so naturally without any special training or expertise," commented Curran on the indomitable young bowlers. "Some of them are already bowling at an average speed of 120km/h with just the natural instinct of pace bowlers. From the looks of things Chiredzi will be the next resource for fresh talent."

Other noteworthy participants at the Masvingo trials included five members of the grounds staff at Masvingo Sports Club, who had been watching the session while going about their duties and were delighted to get an opportunity in the nets. The men have a daily lunchtime backyard cricket ritual, where they play impromptu cricket matches on the club's sand tennis courts using the balls that the Southern Rocks franchise, who use the ground as a home base, no longer need.

"Anyone can become the next fast bowler and you never know who it may be, this an open invitation to all aspiring cricketers out there," added Curran. "Wasim Akram from Pakistan was picked up by scouts in the most unexpected place and in a space of just under four months, he was opening the bowling for his country. We believe it can happen anywhere and I would not be surprised if one of the players we select will do the same."

The final round of trials will be held at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday March 31. The most promising candidates will then be invited to the final trial at the same venue on April 10, when the selectors will narrow the search down to 12 boot-camp candidates.

Those that make the final cut will be rewarded with a year at Zimbabwe's High Performance Centre. The national and fast-bowling campaign selectors will then decide which of the candidates will be awarded a rookie contract with a franchise, a possible first step in selection for the national side.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by MrBo_J on (March 31, 2010, 15:58 GMT)

What a great story, here's to all those cricketing hopefuls (young and old!) - it's so nice to here a story like this coming out of Zim, it just shows how important cricket, and all sport, can be to give people something to aspire towards. And nice to see old Heathy still looking cool!

Posted by L.Pearce on (March 31, 2010, 4:22 GMT)

This new news has further instilled my exuberant faith in ZC and such an initiative is truly wonderful. shame though about kyle jarvis and his injury. looks like its time give up my leggies and head to ZIM permanently to focus on my cricket and fast bowling full time.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (March 30, 2010, 22:26 GMT)

Well done! A shame this sort of audition didn't start yrs ago. Cricket has suffered the loss of a competitive side due to Zim decline and I am glad to see them making steps to return. I for one miss Zimbabwe's test team and wish them a hasty return.

Posted by farhanhj on (March 30, 2010, 20:43 GMT)

i think that good initiative they should increase the search to small towns too may be they can get some one like tait.

Posted by vinayp on (March 30, 2010, 20:34 GMT)

Very good initiative from the ZCC . Hope they find a very good talented cricketers. :)

Posted by   on (March 30, 2010, 19:51 GMT)

It is good to try but seriously Akram like story is once in a life time. All said and done, there can be only one Wasim Akram

Posted by Futurrackz on (March 30, 2010, 19:14 GMT)

Well Done Zimbabwe Cricket Club

Good Luck! I'm sure they would unleash someone like Kemar Roach.

Posted by   on (March 30, 2010, 18:22 GMT)

not only finding fast bowlers should be priorities, zimbabwee needs to find at lease 5 to 6 good batsmen, this was clear from their last tour to the west indies. the batting is very poor. best of luck keithy

Posted by Nuxxy on (March 30, 2010, 13:39 GMT)

Great to hear! Africa has so much untapped cricketing talent. It's such a pity that cricket is often seen as a "white man's sport", and dismissed in favour of football. I wish they would do something like this in the townships here in South Africa.

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