The Zimbabwe national cricket team suffered a huge blow after losing one of its brightest emerging talents after fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani quit international cricket for a career in England, where he is believed to have penned a three-year contract with Nottinghamshire.
BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
The 21-year-old, who illuminated the International Cricket Council World Cup qualifiers with some quality bowling, will not take part in Zimbabwe’s tour to South Africa and Bangladesh that will run between September and November.
Muzarabani was expected to be rewarded with an upgraded contract, having been one of the least paid national cricket team players, but he clinched a more lucrative deal in England.
Yesterday, Zimbabwe Cricket confirmed that the lanky bowler had put his international career on hold.
Muzarabani has played one Test, 18 one-day internationals (ODI) and six Twenty20 internationals for Zimbabwe.
During that period, he took 18 wickets in ODIs and claimed nine scalps in the T20s.
He said he was honoured to have represented his country and wished his teammates the best going forward.
“I wish my former teammates and Zimbabwe Cricket all the very best for the future,” Muzarabani said.
“I have been honoured to represent my country, but I feel this is an appropriate time for me to pursue other challenges both personally and professionally.”
Only last year, Zimbabwe celebrated the return of Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis, who had been plying their trade in England and could not represent their country.
The duo opted out of their Kolpak contracts to return home and represent Zimbabwe, but after that boost, the national team has encountered another blow.
Muzarabani burst on to the scene through the Tatenda Taibu-initiated Rising Stars Academy and has been one of the most successful players to come out of that project.
He was tipped to be a key pillar in the Zimbabwe squad and he was singled out by the ICC after the World Cup qualifiers as the country’s rising star.
Zimbabwe is coming out of a sticky patch following the withdrawal of some of the key players in their last two series.
All players have since committed to return to play for Zimbabwe, save for Sikandar Raza, who still has disciplinary issues to deal with.
The national team has since resumed training as they prepare for their trip to South Africa, where they will play three ODIs and the same number of T20s against the Proteas.