Snippet of the Day PJ Moor

Peter Joseph Moor, called out to Bangladesh for the recent one-day series, is Zimbabwe’s latest international player. 

He prefers to be called “PJ”, as his father’s name is also Peter.

“It was great to be part of the national team and, as it was my first tour, it was a real eye-opener,” he says of his experience in Bangladesh.  “Obviously it would have been better if the results had gone more in our favour, but none the less I think I learned a lot. I took a lot away from that tour.

“I think (the Bangladeshis) are really good in their own conditions, and I think after a few tours there you can adjust to it.  You’ve got to be able to play in all conditions and I think that if there was a second tour and I happened to make it, I think I would know how to approach my game in those conditions.”

PJ, now aged 23 and captain of Mid-West Rhinos in the absence of Brendan Taylor, comes from a strong cricketing family.

His uncle, Kevin Moor, used to play for Zimbabwe Country Districts, “and he was the one who used to throw to me as a kid.  My dad also was a good cricketer as a youngster, so he pushed me to play cricket.  I have two brothers who love cricket, so we all played from a young age at home.”

PJ also had the benefit of good cricketing schools, at St John’s Preparatory and College.  He had a series of good coaches there, “but I think Rory McWade, our coach in Form One, was the one who first started making me believe in myself and push to become a cricketer.” 

He has always been primarily a batsman, and his progress was followed throughout his teen years, when he represented Zimbabwe at under-14, under-16 and under-19 levels.

PJ has always played club cricket for Harare Sports Club, and he is now playing for Country Club as well.  He has also played one season at Cambridge, in England, and three years in Ireland: “I didn’t have the greatest of seasons over there, but I think I definitely learned more about my game in those conditions.”

Besides batting, PJ sometimes used to keep wicket at well, but only recently has he decided to take that seriously. 

“I think to have a second string to my bow is important,” he says, “and also when I look at potential opportunities I thought there may be a position as a keeper.  I want to play for Zimbabwe in international cricket and I think my best bet would be if I can do both.”

Interesting, PJ thinks the best performance of his career so far was the century he scored against the South Africa under-19 team.  He has yet to score a century in first-class cricket, though he did score a Pro50 century last season.  He began his franchise career with Mashonaland Eagles, but two years ago, after being in and out of that side, he moved to Mid-West Rhinos where he was assured of a regular place.

PJ has always batted positively, and even in his first season in first-class cricket he went for his shots, even though his technique was obviously still quite loose.  He is happiest at the top of the order, in the first four: “I actually enjoyed opening; that’s been the position I have loved the most, but coming to this franchise I haven’t really had the chance to do that.”

He feels his main strength as a batsman is when the ball comes on to the bat well. 

“I prefer to play the seamers, and anything off the front foot.  I’ve learned a lot of new shots, especially in Ireland this year.  I played in a team which had a lot of ex-Ireland players and a few future Ireland cricketers, and it was a really good environment.  I learned a lot of those shots that I don’t usually play, backward of square, the reverse sweeps and laps and shots like that, and I’ve been working hard on those,” he said.

In the current match, between Mid-West Rhinos and Mountaineers at Kwekwe Sports Club, PJ – captain of the home side – says, “It was a bad toss to lose; it would have been great to bowl first yesterday (Tuesday) morning with that green patch.  But obviously you can’t control those and, who knows, with rain overnight it might be a bit dodgy this morning.  Obviously they are in a favourable position, but I don’t think the game is over by any means.”

As evidence of that, the situation came about when, at 4.30 on Wednesday afternoon, the conditions at the ground were still far from ideal and the umpires asked the captains for their decision as to whether to continue play.  PJ and Tinotenda  Mawoyo both agreed to play, despite PJ’s team having rather the worse of the first day, and they managed to seize three valuable wickets in the brief time available.

PJ had been forced to bat in awkward conditions on the first morning, and he followed his usual policy. 

“From one end it was popping and moving quite a bit and from the other end it was fairly flat, which was hard to adjust to.  I just tried to be positive; I thought to myself that if I want to score runs they are not going to look pretty on this wicket, but if I can just get a decent score I’ll be able to do it.  I had just started to get myself in; I got to 30-odd and got myself out, which was frustrating,” he said.

PJ has much natural talent and a real ability to develop and learn, and he appreciates the value of discipline and strict training. 

All things being equal, he should have a long future with the national team ahead of him.

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