March 26, 1985, Harare
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
An offspinner who has always been economical without being incisive, Prosper Utseya was first introduced to the game at Chipembere Primary School in the Harare township of Highfield, and won a ZCU scholarship to Churchill High School. A promising talent at school level, he made his first-class debut - opening the batting in the first innings - for Mashonaland A at the age of 15. In 2004, Utseya was unexpectedly thrust into the Zimbabwe national team against Sri Lanka at the age of 19 when the rebel players withdrew. He held onto a place in a weakened national side and, somewhat surprisingly, took up the captaincy from Terry Duffin in 2006.
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. But there weren't a great deal of happy memories for Zimbabwe in the years that followed and Utseya tendered his resignation as national captain after the side's disappointing performance at the World Twenty20 in May 2010, saying that he was stepping down in the interest of the team's future development.
As it turned out, the move also allowed Utseya to focus on his own development. He formed a useful spin-bowling partnership with Ray Price, the pair making an odd, yet effective, couple and even opening the bowling together when conditions warranted it. Utseya honed his game as a limited-overs cricketer, his parsimonious bowling combining with surprisingly agile fielding and a can-do batting attitude to make him an automatic pick for Zimbabwe in ODIs and a senior member of the squad. He became the second Zimbabwean to take an ODI hat-trick in the course of his 5 for 36 against South Africa in August 2014, and later in the same series sealed his place in Zimbabwean cricketing folklore when he hit Mitchell Starc for a towering six to take Zimbabwe to their first ODI victory over Australia in 31 years.
His career hit a major hurdle shortly afterwards, when his action was deemed illegal and he was barred from bowling the offspin that had made him Zimbabwe's most reliable one-day bowler. Utseya was forced to take drastic action, trimming an already minimal bowling action down to its absolute bare bones and remodeling himself as a bowler of slow-medium cutters.
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