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May 11, 2010
Prosper Utseya has resigned as captain of Zimbabwe, handing over a formal resignation letter following a meeting with the managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket. His replacement in the position is allrounder Elton Chigumbura.
"It has been a privilege for me to captain Zimbabwe for the past four years," Utseya stated in his resignation letter. "It has been an experience that has been fraught with many emotions, though I am glad to say that, overall, I have enjoyed the experience immensely and would not have wished for it to be otherwise.
"I remain committed to the cause of the team and Zimbabwe Cricket," he continued. "That commitment is something every international sportsman has. It is more so for those who, like me, have had the honour to lead their national sides."
Thrust into the senior national team in 2004 at the age of 19 when the 'rebel' players withdrew, Utseya held his place in a weakened national side, taking over the captaincy from Terry Duffin in 2006. He led Zimbabwe in 67 one-day internationals, with 20 victories, and all 10 of the Twenty20 internationals the team has played so far.
Always economical but rarely incisive, Utseya came of age with the ball during the tour to West Indies in May 2006, where his flight and spin belied his lack of experience and years. He should, in all likelihood, retain his place in the side on his bowling alone as he, together with left-arm spinner Ray Price, has formed the backbone of Zimbabwe's spin-oriented attack in recent times.
Utseya captained the side in the darkest days of Zimbabwe cricket, but despite some positive results in recent times the team has continued to perform inconsistently, even against weaker opposition. It is understood that he stepped down in the interests of the team's future development.
Chigumbura will now lead the side in their tri-series against India and Sri Lanka at home, which starts on May 28. Another player who got his start in the national side during the 'rebel' player crisis, Chigumbura has since emerged as a frontline performer for Zimbabwe with both bat and ball, and already captains the Mashonaland Eagles. His appointment as captain was a unanimous decision by the ZC Board.
"I am humbled by the confidence that the cricket committee and the ZC Board has shown in me to select me for this role," said Chigumbura in a statement to the board. "It is a privilege to lead a team that I have been growing and playing with all these years and I look forward to the challenge.
"I am grateful to Pro [Utseya] for the support he has given me as an individual and as captain and I look forward to his continued guidance, and support."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?