The Sunday Mail
“SPORT for me is about passion. There is so much enjoyment in it; if I don’t say it’s my life I would be lying.”
These words were not uttered by a famous sportsman, no.
They came from the mouth of a 20-year-old multi-talented sportsman who has represented the junior national teams in cricket, hockey, squash and athletics.
Ryan Burl is the name.
“I know God has given me talent, so if I were to waste it, that would be a big mistake.
“If one has talent, I believe they should use it and take it to the furthest possible place they can,” he says.
Having flirted with several sporting disciplines, Burl has set his sights on becoming a professional cricketer and a fortnight ago he scored a half century on his Pro50 Championship debut when Mashonaland Eagles beat Midwest Rhinos.
Having graced the ICC Under-19 cricket World Cup twice, Burl, as does most observers, believes he has what it takes to become the next big thing in the local game.
“Cricket has always been my biggest passion,” confessed Burl, who quit university in the United Kingdom in order to follow his first love.
“I started off really young, when I was about three. My grandpa (Basel Petersen), who used to coach Zim Schools Cricket back in the day, taught me how to play in the back garden with my brothers.
“We lived on a farm just by Watershed (School) and from there, it was playing cricket at school . . . it’s has been a good journey, I took it step by step and here I am.”
Burl does not shy away from hard work and last week The Sunday Mail caught up with him on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon at Harare Sports Club soon after he had finished a net session with former Zimbabwe bowler Kyle Jarvis and Mash Eagles captain Greg Lamb.
“Talent alone is not enough, one needs to work hard. Scoring a half century in my maiden match was great, but I still have a long way to go; I need to prove myself, obviously. I did a year of university in England in Southampton, but decided to take a break and try to play cricket full-time. So, I have to make it count because many questioned the decision,” he said.
Having done business for the Under-19s, the next step for Burl is the national team, one would imagine.
“The goal at the moment is trying to break into the national side and play in the World Cup and that doesn’t happen on its own; I need to sweat it out and that is something I am ready to do,” he said.
Burl reveals that his second love among his five-for set-up is squash, and boasts that he never lost to Zimbabwe Open champion Blessing Muhwati during his school days.