Tuesday, 24 February 2015 10:58

Snippet of the Day: Richmond Mutumbami

Richmond Mutumbami, wicketkeeper-batsman, is one of Zimbabwe ’s most promising cricketers. 

The 25-year old has played in six Test matches and five One-Day International matches for his country, but lost his place for the World Cup tournament. 

On Sunday, he scored a fine innings of 86 for Matabeleland Tuskers in their total of 271 for five wickets against MidWest Rhinos at Kwekwe.  It was a welcome return to form after a lean period, despite doing enough for Zimbabwe A against Canada for the Canadian captain to name him, along with Vusimuzi Sibanda, as the best two Zimbabwe A batsmen.

It is not generally known that Mutumbami has been suffering from the effects of a broken left elbow for several months now, and this has been at least partly responsible for his dip in batting form:  “Ever since I got injured during the South Africa-Australia series, when I came back I was struggling.  It was just something you need to be patient about and at the end of the day it will come out right.

“When I got injured I was actually on top of my game, but when I came back I had to start all over again.  That takes a lot of hard work and commitment, but it’s coming right now.  I had a terrible start to the season, but I think I’m getting back into my tricks now.”

Mutumbami was born in Masvingo and learned all his cricket at Victoria Primary and High Schools, and appeared for the Zimbabwe age-group teams from under-16 level upwards.  He has played all his club cricket in Masvingo, for Masvingo Sports Club, Old Victorians and Hungwe Cricket Club.  He made his First-class debut at the age of 18 for Southerns, which became Southern Rocks franchise, and when that was disbanded after last season he joined Matabeleland Tuskers.

The highlight of Mutumbami’s international career so far, he says, was the Test match against South Africa last August:  “We were playing one of the top sides in the world and it’s quite an experience and something everyone would look forward to during their careers.  That was one big plus to my career.”

He last played for the national team during the disastrous tour of Bangladesh.  “It wasn’t very nice, but at the end of the day it’s a learning curve for everyone, so I’ve learned what I had to learn and it’s something now I have to apply into my cricket.  The next time I go there at least I will be sure of the conditions I will face and the kind of people I will meet there.”

Concerning today’s match, Mutumbami says of the pitch, “It was quite slow.  Most of the balls were holding up early on, but once you get in it’s difficult to get out, so the only thing I kept telling myself was that I have to play straight and play shots down the ground.”

Mutumbami went in to join Keith Dabengwa immediately after lunch, after his team had crawled to 38 for three before the interval.  They shared a partnership of 158 before Mutumbami was the first to go, for 86 off 139 balls, with 14 fours and a six. 

“We were quite on the back foot, so I just needed to get a partnership with Dabengwa, and it so worked out to our advantage.  I just wanted to bat the whole day.  Whatever runs I get at the end of the day, my main goal was to bat the rest of the day and work it out from there,” he said.

The MidWest Rhinos bowling attack was not at its best, and Mutumbami cannot name any outstanding bowler:  “I think all of them bowled pretty well; they bowled decently.  All of them hit good areas, but they would also give you bad balls.”

What does Mutumbami feel he has to do now to get back into international cricket?  “Just pile on the runs, that’s all I need to go.  I think I need to work on my whole fitness.  As long as I am fit, I can think better and I can play better cricket.”

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