The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE premier bowler Tendai Chatara says the Chevrons’ focus has been solely on playing cricket and not the ongoing office battles between Zimbabwe Cricket and the Sports and Recreation Commission.
The Chevrons’ tour of Europe has been disappointing with the national side trailing 0-2 in the three-match ODI series that concludes today against Ireland in Belfast.
The 28-year-old pace bowler, who is six wickets away from becoming the sixth Zimbabwean bowler to pick 100 ODI wickets, says they will play for pride in today’s encounter.
“I know results haven’t been coming, but the guys have been focusing on one thing, and that is playing cricket,” Chatara told The Sunday Mail Sport.
“Of course we heard about the issue, but there hasn’t been that talk amongst the boys. lnstead we have been talking about ways in which we can get that elusive win.
“We know Ireland have got the series in the bag, but it doesn’t stop us from playing to win the final ODI.
“There is pride at stake here, as well as the T20 series coming after,” said Chatara.
The player from Mutare has picked 94 wickets in 69 innings and is set to join former captains Heath Streak (237), Prosper Utseya (133), Graeme Cremer (119), all-rounder Grant Flower (104) and left-arm orthodox spinner Raymond Price (100) in the exclusive club.
Despite going wicket-less (19th time is his career) in the second ODI against Ireland, ‘Chats’ remains confident he will reach his milestone sooner rather than later.
“You go in every match wanting to do well for your country and it’s really a privilege to be playing this game for Zimbabwe.
“Joining the 100-wicket club is priceless and I believe it will happen soon,” he said.
Chatara has never picked an ODI five-for, but remains unfazed and believes every game is an opportunity to break that jinx.
“Like I said I go into every match wanting to do well, and that includes taking five-fors.
“Maybe Sunday (today) is the day it will happen,” said Chatara, whose best figure is the 4/33 achieved against Sri Lanka in 2017.
Chatara might as well take today’s game to join the 100 wicket club.
That his bowling numbers read 94 wickets, 69 innings, 5.10 economy, 35.9 strike rate and 30.56 average is ‘a blessing if not a miracle’ for Chatara. He suffered a career threatening injury in 2016.
He even took 30 wickets from 21 matches in 2018 to finish as the fifth best ODI bowler of the year.
“Mate, it wasn’t a fracture, the leg was broken,” said Chatara of his left shin injury, sustained while playing social soccer in 2015.
“To be fit again is the grace of God and to be playing again is great.
“I take each game as it comes and celebrate each success.”
With Zimbabwe awaiting the ICC’s decision on SRC’s suspension of the ZC board, only time will tell if Chatara and company will add more caps.
Zimbabwe will finish off their tour of Europe with three T20s against Ireland from July 10 to14.