Mpofu panacea to Zim death bowling woes?

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RETURNING seam bowler Chris Mpofu believes he can be the answer to Zimbabwe’s death bowling problems after being recalled to the national side for the first time in over two years for the upcoming cricket tour of Pakistan.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The lanky 29-year-old seamer was rewarded for his brilliant form for Logan Cup champions Matabeleland Tuskers after finishing as the highest wicket taker in the Pro50 Championship last season.

Zimbabwe’s death bowling woes were the only major letdown in what was an otherwise encouraging performance at the ICC World Cup in Australasia as the pacers failed to control the opposition’s batting towards the end of the innings.

With the nation’s frontline seamer Tendai Chatara ruled out for up to six months with a leg injury, Mpofu is one of the experienced players in Zimbabwe’s bowling attack which features the likes of Tinashe Panyangara, Brian Vitori and Tawanda Mupariwa.

“Judging from our performance at the World Cup, I think we have a very strong chance of doing well in Pakistan. I believe if we go there without any fear we will do quite well. They are a rebuilding side in terms of their ODI set-up and I believe we are not going there as underdogs, but for victory and I’m confident everyone in the team believes we can beat them.

“As far as my department which is bowling, I think the guys did very well at the World Cup until the death overs and it’s something we have all been working very hard to rectify,” said Mpofu, who last played for Zimbabwe in an ODI against West Indies in February 2013.

“For me, death bowling is something that I have always believed I have done well in especially in subcontinent conditions where the wickets are a lot flatter. It sounds funny and ironic, but I have always preferred playing on flat wickets because I feel it brings the best out of me. I now have the added advantage in that I have gained more experience,” he said.

After being overlooked for previous national team assignments, Mpofu credited his improved fortunes to hard work and a change of lifestyle.
“It feels good to be back in the fold and I just want to thank God for putting me in this position. I have not been with the team for over two years now and I’m really glad to be back again.

“It’s the culmination of a very hard process in terms of working hard. A lot of people had written me off, but I still had the self-belief I could make it. I never gave up on myself and kept on practising hard. I also had to change my lifestyle and gave my life to God and I am really happy it has worked out well for me,” he said.