March 14, 1986, Kwekwe, Midlands
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Elton Chigumbura made his first-class debut for Mashonaland in the Logan Cup, aged only 15, in 2002 and has since established himself as Zimbabwe's premier allrounder and, for a time, captain of the national side. Chigumbura is a product of the ZC development programme and took to the game at Chipembere Primary School in the Highfield township of Harare. A protégé of coach Stephen Mangongo, he won a ZCU scholarship to Churchill High School and represented Zimbabwe in two Under-19 World Cups.
He made a name for himself at this level when he took four wickets in Zimbabwe's unexpected victory over Australia at the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2004. Chigumbura was fast-tracked into the Zimbabwe national side in the absence of the 'rebel' players later that year and despite looking out of his depth on Test debut against Sri Lanka, he appeared a much-improved player by the time of the Champions Trophy five months later where he put in a good allround performance against Sri Lanka, scoring 57 and picking up 3 for 37.
Chigumbura was capable of surprising pace before being forced to sit out much of 2005 after sustaining a stress fracture of the back during the South Africa tour in March of that year. He played as a specialist batsman on the West Indies tour in May 2006 due to his injury, and in the home series against Bangladesh which followed and as his bowling recovered consistent, if unspectacular, performances lead to his inclusion in the squad for the Africa XI v Asia XI games in 2007. Chigumbura acquitted himself admirably in the first match at Bangalore, dominating his 67-run partnership with Shaun Pollock with a combative 40. He also played a vital role in Zimbabwe's victory over Australia at the World Twenty20 in South Africa, removing both openers and rotating the strike well as Zimbabwe squeaked home in the final over.
After a year of middling performances in 2008, Chigumbura came into his own in the home series against Kenya in 2009. He tormented the Kenyan bowlers, smashing consecutive scores of 79, 68, 43 and 36 at a strike rate well above a-run-a-ball, and picking up seven wickets for good measure. He followed that up with a starring allround performance in the first match of the ODI series in Bangladesh, taking three cheap wickets and guiding Zimbabwe home with an unbeaten 60, but could not replicate his form in the remaining games of the series. In March 2010 Chigumbura signed up as Northamptonshire's overseas player for the County Championship and 40-over league.
Chigumbura took over as captain of the national side after Prosper Utseya's resignation, having already cut his teeth on the role as Mashonaland Eagles' skipper, but after some initial success - including leading Zimbabwe to the finals of a home tri-series including India and Sri Lanka - Chigumbura's own form fell away alarmingly and in June 2011 he was replaced as captain by Brendan Taylor. He was handed back the limited-overs captaincy in July 2014 as part of ZC's plan to split the leadership between him and Taylor.
Probably the hardest-hitting batsman in the current side when on form, he particularly enjoys the lofted drive and is a very good, athletic outfielder.
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