OPENING batsman Hamilton Masakadza was yesterday appointed Zimbabwe cricket captain for all three formats of the game, taking over from all-rounder Elton Chigumbura, who resigned last Friday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) confirmed Masakadza’s appointment after a board meeting held in the capital, also announcing leg spinner Graeme Cremer as his deputy.
As NewsDay Sport reported on Wednesday, Masakadza was recommended for the position by ZC’s cricket committee, and unanimously approved by the board which met yesterday.
Announcing the pair’s appointments, ZC managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa said: “Both Masakadza and Cremer are senior players who have shown their leadership abilities, working with previous captains. We have no doubt they will be successful in their substantive posts, which come at a time when both are in the top 10 of the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Player Rankings for batsmen and bowlers respectively.”
Masakadza’s appointment completed a remarkable turnaround of fortunes for the 32-year-old batsman, whose career looked to be in jeopardy only three months ago after being dropped from the side due to poor form.
He bounced back into the national side in spectacular fashion, scoring his fourth ODI century against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates before helping the team to an impressive comeback against Bangladesh.
Masakadza’s series haul of 222 runs in four matches against Bangladesh — a world record for most runs in a T20 bilateral series — saw him breaking into the top 10 of the ICC T20I batting rankings.
Cremer’s impressive rise to the deputy captaincy is also remarkable as he only returned to the national fold last year after quitting the sport for golf two years ago.
The 29-year-old leg spinner has, however, been nothing short of impressive since his comeback ahead of the Pakistan tour in March last year.
Cremer was the highest wicket taker during the T20 series against Bangladesh and his haul of six wickets in the series meant he has stormed up nine places to a career-high fifth position on the T20 bowling rankings.
Masakadza and Cremer will start in their new roles when Zimbabwe compete in the ICC World Twenty20 competition to be held in India from March 8 to April 3. The Chevrons were last month drawn in Group B of next year’s 2016 World Twenty20 tournament with Hong Kong, Scotland and Afghanistan and will need to finish top of the group to reach the Super 10 stage.
They could start their tenure earlier as ZC is reportedly exploring the possibility of a short limited-overs series before the global tournament.