Against Mid-West Rhinos, in Kwekwe, the opposition scored 309, with a century for Gary Ballance – and Kevin admits to dropping him before he had scored. In reply, Mountaineers had six wickets down for 77, although Kevin, who had gone in at number three, was still there. Shingi Masakadza stayed with him for a while, but otherwise his only real support came from the last man, Tapiwa Mufudza, with whom he added 92. Kevin finished with 132 not out, out of 224. A poor batting performance in the second innings allowed Mountaineers to come through on the final day and win by three wickets. Although Kevin made only 27 this time, it is quite clear that without his first-innings century Mountaineers would have lost the match.
This Kevin considers the finest performance of his career. He feels that having dropped Gary Ballance put him under pressure, but it spurred him on to put the matter right and score a century himself.
Then, last Saturday, came the Pro50 match at home against Southern Rocks. In brief, Mountaineers were 18 for five before Kevin came in. He scored 129 out of a total of 229, which was enough to win the match for his team. Again, had Kevin gone cheaply, it is highly unlikely Mountaineers could have won that match. He had done it again for his team, showing not only tremendous talent but also a magnificent temperament in a crisis.
Although Kevin has played several matches for Mountaineers before, he had shone only occasionally and these were his first centuries for the side. How does he account for his sudden burst of outstanding batting form?
“I think I have been working hard for about three months,” he says. “I’ve been working hard on my practice and I think that’s why I’m in form now. Before then I wasn’t working on my fitness very much, and I scored maybe 40 or 50 and then I would go out. But these days I have been working on my fitness and my strength, and that’s why I turned them into two hundreds. I think scoring runs depends a lot on how fit you are. Gary [Brent, the Mountaineers coach] told me you have to be fit to get to hundreds. If you get physically fit, you will be mentally fit as well.”
Kevin is the first from his family to play cricket, and he first encountered the game at Chirowakamwe Primary School in Mutare, where the coach was Foster Mupita. Mr Mupita, he remembers, first impressed upon Kevin the need to work really hard in order to succeed in cricket. He progressed to Mutare Boys High School, Farai Chari being the coach here. Both men played a vital part in developing Kevin’s skills. He progressed very quickly, and at Under-13 level was already representing the Manicaland age-group team. He continued to represent them from Under-13 to Under-19 level – and he still qualifies for their Under-19 team. He scored centuries for their Under-14 and Under-19 teams.
Kevin started playing club cricket in Mutare when he was in Form Two, playing his first club match at Mutare Sports Club, but for Titans against the home side. In his early years with school and club he used to keep wicket as well, but over the years he probably wisely decided to concentrate on batting.
As a batsman Kevin’s favourite stroke is the cut, but he realizes he needs to keep working on his technique, especially tightening his defence and playing off the back foot. He feels the most challenging bowler he has faced so far in his career is Mark Mbofana, of Mashonaland Eagles. “He swings the ball both ways.”
His next ambition is to play in the national team. Interestingly, he would like to open the batting rather than stay in the middle order, and that is also good news for the national side, which often suffers from a shortage of opening batsmen. In a short while, we could well see the two Mountaineers, Tino Mawoyo and Kevin Kasuza, opening the batting together for the country and allowing Vusi Sibanda to bat in the middle order where he is more comfortable.
Of course, this is speculation. But what he has already achieved, at the age of 18, shows both great talent and a wonderful temperament. If Kevin can keep pushing forward and working as hard as he knows he should, he has a very exciting future and Zimbabwe cricket will be all the better for this man.