Black Friday debuts

IMAGINE being a superstitious bloke and you are told you are making your international cricket debut on Friday the 13th.

To those who believe it, Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day.

But for 20 year-old Ryan Murray and Liam Roche (18), Friday, July 13 will be a memorable day they got maiden ODI caps for Zimbabwe against Pakistan at Queens Sports Club.

The hugely forgettable series in which Zimbabwe was humiliated 5-0 also marked international debuts for opening batsmen Prince Masvaure (29) and 23-year-old Tinashe Kamunhukamwe.

“Being quite a superstitious person, I noticed that, and in the bus after the team was announced the day before for the first game, I brought this up with fellow debutant Liam Roche and we had a laugh about it,” said Murray.

“But once I woke up the next day, I didn’t cast a thought to it, so I can’t really say it affected me,” said the wicket-keeper.

He wasn’t affected indeed, scoring an unbeaten 32 in Zimbabwe’s 201-run shellacking in their chase of 308 in the first ODI.  There was no luck on the match result and the series as a whole, but Murray, a Bachelor of Accounting student at Stellenbosch University has learnt a lot in his nascent international career.

“It was a massive learning curve, I was able to see how tough the standard of international cricket is, and where and what level I need to be at to not only play, but perform for my country,” said ‘Mazza’.

“It’s obviously tough trying to balance both (school and cricket,” Murray said.

“When there are periods in which I don’t have exams or tests, I’m available fully to play for Zimbabwe.

“My exam periods normally last about two weeks, so I won’t be available to play during those weeks.

“I am a part of the Maties High Performance Centre at University where I do all my training, and play matches, so I am playing cricket at university.

“I do have to balance my studies with my cricket very well, so it’s something I have gotten used to,” he said.

For Masvaure it was back at Queens to make another debut after his first Test against New Zealand in 2016.

The left-handed batsman was added to the squad when Malcolm Waller pulled out citing labour issues on the ongoing non-payment of dues by ZC.

“It came as a surprise, I saw a missed call from Mr. (Lovemore) Banda (team manager) just as I finished hitting balls with coach Stuart Matsikenyeri.

“I felt it was God speaking to me, showing me what happens if you praise Him and have faith in him through thick and thin,” said Masvaure

The all-rounder scored one in his first match before getting 39 in the fifth and final match of the series.

“I have learnt to work hard and play hard cricket everytime be it at club level, franchise level or international cricket.

“I have be ruthless whenever I am on top, never be satisfied with your last performance always look to be better next time.”

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