Everybody hates Chris……but not in India
Brandon Moyo, [email protected]
CHRIS MPOFU is not a name that many Zimbabweans would associate with cricket these days. The 38-year-old fast bowler, who last played for his country in 2020, has faded from the national spotlight. But in India, he is a star.
Mpofu is part of the Urbanrisers Hyderabad team in the 2023 Legends League Cricket, a tournament that features some of the game’s greats such as Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson, Chris Gayle, and Harbhajan Singh. He is also among the top 10 wicket-takers in the league, with six scalps in his first five matches.
But what has really endeared him to the Indian fans is his unique celebration style. Whenever he takes a wicket, he breaks into a dance that is both hilarious and infectious. His teammates and opponents join him in the groove, and the crowd goes wild.
Mpofu’s dance moves have been dubbed as “Chris-tal clear brilliance” by the commentators and the fans. He has brought fun and flair to the league, and has shown that age is just a number. He has also reminded the world of his talent and passion for the game, which he hopes to continue for as long as possible.
“Even the people here have fallen in love with the style of celebration. At the moment, it looks like it’s trending all around India, the young and the old, which is something that I’m really enjoying,” Mpofu said.
He added that the celebration was not planned, but just came out of nowhere.
“You talk about celebrations, it’s something that I never planned but it just came out of nowhere and it’s something that even my teammates are doing so it’s a good thing,” he said.
Mpofu, who is nicknamed “The Magwegwe Express” in Zimbabwe, is playing alongside the likes of Martin Guptill, Morne Morkel, Suresh Raina, and Asghar Afghan in the Urbanrisers Hyderabad team.
He said he was enjoying living the dream in India, where he has always been well received.
“Here in India, in terms of falling in love with my style of play; it’s been a real blessing to be here. I have enjoyed my time, I have always enjoyed my time here in India but this season has just got even better for me, being among the top wicket takers in the competition,” he said.
He also revealed his ambition to finish in the top three of the bowling charts.
“For me it’s a thing that I had said to myself before I came here to this tournament that I have been looking forward to doing and so far it’s been going very well and I have got a game in the final to even sneak to the top three of bowlers. At the moment I am number five, level with two guys who are ahead of me in terms of the run rate but being in that top five is something that I was really looking forward to doing,” he said.
His best figures of 2/23 came in a win against Southern Superstars, where he helped his team defend 157 runs. He also bowled a brilliant spell of 1/16 in four overs against Northern Warriors, where he dismissed the dangerous Kevin Pietersen.
Against India Capitals, Mpofu also starred with the ball as he picked up two wickets for 34 runs to help his team register a close three runs victory. Batting first, Mpofu’s Urbanrisers Hyderabad were restricted to 189/5 in 20 overs and went on to limit their opponents to 186/6.
It was Mpofu who had the first breakthrough for Urbanrisers Hyderabad, trapping Gambhir in front for a golden duck. He also took the wicket of Ricardo Powell who had scored 26 runs off 24 deliveries.
After two brilliant spells that helped his team cross the line, the other scalp that Mpofu picked, however, came in a losing cause where they suffered a close one run defeat at the hands of Gujarat Giants. The Zimbabwean star finished with figures of 1/26 in his four overs.