ZIMBABWE cricket selectors have been bowled over by 20-year-old Blessing Muzarabani and have included him in the team that is set to play South Africa in a Boxing Day Test.
The team is expected to leave for South Africa this week, with the biggest question being who is this Muzarabani guy?
Well he is member of the Rising Stars Academy, has raw pace and is without doubt the tallest cricketer in the domestic league.
Muzarabani stands at two meters tall and national team bowling coach Makhaya Ntini has nicknamed him “Tolly”.
But the starlet is popularly known as Mabhunu and there is an interesting story behind that particular name.
“I was in Grade Five playing for Chipembere Primary School in the Super Eight tournament when I bowled a bouncer which floored the batsman, who happened to be white,” said Muzarabani.
“My teammates found it fascinating and started calling me Mabhunu.
“I have tried to make it go away but it has stuck with me,” revealed the 20-year-old who is having an impressive season.
The pace bowler has picked up 18 wickets from nine innings and last month his maiden first-class fiver led the Rising Stars to their first win – a 268-run triumph over Tuskers – in Kwekwe.
Recently, Muzarabani was used as a national team net bowler, but now goes one step better with the national team.
The call-up also sees him follow in the footsteps of his Rising Stars Academy mentors Tatenda Taibu and Steward Matsikenyeri.
“I don’t want to lie to you, being around Tatenda Taibu and Stuart Matsikenyeri is a good thing; they are legends of the game and are always full of positive talk.
“I never thought I would be this close to these guys when I saw them play, but now they are giving me cricket and life advice.
“It’s just amazing,” he said.
The expectation now is that Muzarabani continues to get better, benefitting from the experience of those around him.
“I have always loved cricket since I was a kid but reaching this level seemed impossible back then.
“Things began to happen when I got a national under 19 call up, back in 2015, and not too long after I became a net bowler.
“While I struggled with wides, at first Makhaya (Ntini) helped me with my action and like everyone else I started benefitting from the wealth of experience he brings into the dressing room,” he said.
Muzarabani is popular with fans because of his height but is determined to show that there is more to him.
“Everywhere I go, people are amazed by my height and I get comments like ‘mate you are too much’.
“Some say I have got extraordinary height and ask for pictures with me.
“But the best feeling would be to have people asking for pictures after I have produced a good performance. I a dream of a day when people will come to me for pictures because of what I would have achieved as a cricketer, and not my height,” he said.
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