Paul Munyuki Harare Bureau
HAMILTON Masakadza feels his cricket playing career would not have been complete without taking the Chevrons’ lead role on the field and his appointment as the captain last month completed his mission. He will lead Zimbabwe at the World Twenty20 in India next month. “It’s every cricket players’ dream to captain the national team at a world tournament. My dream had always been to be captain of the Zimbabwe cricket side, but given the time I’ve been in the team I was beginning to doubt that I would at some point lead the team.
“But my dream has finally come true and I’m out to lead the team in the best manner possible,” said Masakadza. Since the beginning of the year, Masakadza has been in top form.
Masakadza’s performance in Bangladesh saw him getting a total of 222 runs in the series, setting a new record for most runs in a series by any batsman in T20 international while his unbeaten 93 became the highest individual score by any Zimbabwean batsman in this format of the game.
This year alone, Masakadza has scored a total of 318 runs in the six T20 internationals he has played giving him his best average of 53. His average in the series against Bangladesh gave him much of the limelight as it came to 55.5 runs – another feat for the opener as this also became his best in a year.
However, life has not always been a smooth sail for Masakadza who prior to the Bangladesh tour had been dropped for the home series against Afghanistan towards the end of last year due to poor form.
“Of course I drew a number of lessons from being dropped from the national team. I had always believed that I was doing everything right but I wasn’t getting the runs,” said Masakadza.
“I know I can handle both duties quite well. Most of the people, whose performances are affected by the (captaincy) role, are bowlers and all-rounders because at the time they’re bowling, they’re also taking care of the field in the same innings.
“But it’ll be much easier for me to lead because I’m a batsman and I would have batted in one of the two innings and taken charge of the field in the other so that’s fine.
“I do take the ball but that’s rare.” Masakadza’s name has been mentioned in record-setting performances given that he entered the grand stage by setting records.
He was still a schoolboy at Churchill High when he set the record – since beaten by Mohammad Ashraful – of being the youngest batsman to score a century on his Test debut, at 17 years and 254 days – scoring a composed 119 against West Indies in 2001.
Earlier in the year he had not only become the youngest Zimbabwean ever to score a first-class century but also the first black player to do so. “Records are set to be broken and I feel that I still have what it takes to have my name carved in the cricket record books. ”It’s something I hope I’ll be able to do as long as I’m still playing the game,” Masakadza said.