THERE was nothing unusual or surprising about Zimbabwe national cricket captain Hammilton Masakadza’s resignation from the team.
Dreadful events at Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) were the reason behind that rather disappointing decision, but there could be more turmoil if those issues are not addressed.
On a hot Tuesday afternoon, a forlorn Masakadza, arguably one of the finest and longest serving senior men’s team players, announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket, casting a dark cloud on the game.
The coming Triangular Series to be hosted by Bangladesh will be Masakadza’s last match in the Chevrons jersey.
Afghanistan are the third nation in the Triangular Series.
“I was looking forward to the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup qualifier in Dubai next month, but with Zimbabwe barred from taking part in the event, I feel that the time is right for the focus to shift to the next generation,” said an emotional Masakadza.
ZC was banned by the ICC over untested allegations of Government interference in its running of the game.
As a result, the ICC withdrew funding and Zimbabwe was barred from participating at ICC events.
Zimbabwe was due to take part in a T20 World Cup qualifier in October.
Resultantly, the Chevrons missed out a chance to play at the highest level of the T20 Series.
Masakadza felt his retirement could have come after another dance at the World Cup.
With a career spanning 18 years, the Highfield-bred right-handed batsman played 209 One Day Internationals (ODI), scoring 5 658 runs; 38 Tests, scoring 2 223 runs; 62 T20s, scoring 1 529; and 140 first-class matches, scoring 9 564.
In July 2018, he became Zimbabwe’s most capped player and, later that year, became the fourth Zimbabwean to play 200 ODIs.
Masakadza made headlines as a schoolboy from Churchill High School aged 16 and scoring a first class century in February 2000.
A year later, in July 2001, Masakadza became the youngest player in the world to score a century on his Test debut.
The Mountaineers’ batsman belongs to the class of Tatenda Taibu, Prosper Utseya, Elton Chigumbura, Stuart Matsikenyeri and Vusimuzi Sibanda who were left to play cricket after the boycott by senior players.
However, most of the cricketers have called it a day from international cricket for different reasons.
Today, some have taken different paths, while others are in the ZC structures, coaching.
Taibu had a fallout with ZC, while Utseya and Matsikenyeri are within the structures of the game.
The senior men’s cricket team that boycotted the Zimbabwe Cricket Union included Grant Flower, Heath Streak, Stuart Carlisle, Craig Wishart, Trevor Gripper, Andy Blignaught, Gary Brent, Travis Friend, Sean Ervine, Ray Price, Barney Rodgers, Neil Ferreria and Richard Simms.
The group of white players, later labelled the ‘rebels’, were against the inclusion of black players into the flagship team.
The fringe players were left with a mammoth task of playing the game with little or no experience of international cricket.
Masakadza’s 18 years in international cricket include the six-year hiatus from Test that ZC opted for between 2005 and 2011.