Could Kaia answer Zim’s batting woes?

19 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Could Kaia answer Zim’s batting woes?

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

IT’S two days after Zimbabwe’s humiliating 6-0 white-ball cricket series defeat to Afghanistan and Takashinga Sports Club is a hive of activity on a sunny but breezy afternoon.

At the entrance to the cricket grounds in Harare’s high-density suburb of Highfield, the topical subject is unsurprisingly the Chevrons’ abysmal performance against Afghanistan.

A few metres inside the premises are cricket nets where Innocent Kaia is hitting cricket balls bowled by a boy who is probably 12-years-old.

Upon The Sunday Mail Sport crew’s arrival, Kaia lifts his bat as if he has just hit his 50 but it is mainly to acknowledge our presence.

“You are here, I will be done soon,” said Kaia, as he continues to practice in the nets.

Seated nearby is Innocent’s older brother, Roy, who is mending his bat.

Innocent cuts short his session but opts to sit on a bench away from the group that is discussing the Chevrons’ woes.

“This is one place (Takashinga) which pushes me.

“It reminds me of where I have been and what I want to achieve,” Innocent says.

He made his debut for Zimbabwe in September last year in the shorter version of the white-ball format in Scotland.

His dream of representing Zimbabwe in the limited-overs finally came true when the 29-year-old batter made his debut for the Chevrons against Afghanistan early this month.

“It has been a long time coming and it is always an honour to play for your country, and growing up, it has always been my dream to represent my country.”

He, however, has mixed feelings about his T20 debut.

“My first game for Zimbabwe wasn’t that great.

“I posted seven runs but for me it was that big moment in my life as I had finally realised my dream of representing my country.

“Having made seven runs on debut it was very tough for me because the next game I was out of the team.

“I was told that it was due to the conditions and the team needed to play Blessing Muzarabani.

“However, at the back of my mind, I knew that I had myself to blame.

“So I went back to domestic cricket and performed well again, then I was called for the Nepal Zim A tour and I knew if I was to entertain any chances of being recalled to the national team, then I had to perform well again.

“Thank God I did well on the domestic scene and in Nepal with Zimbabwe A, leading to my recall back to the team,” he said.

Determined to correct the mistakes he made on debut in the limited-overs, Kaia knew he had to be on top of his game if he was to have a long career with the national team. “This (ODI debut) meant a lot to me because after making a mistake in the first T20, I had to do it right.

“It was more like I had been given a second chance at life and so I had to prove to myself that I am good for the team.”

As Zimbabwe continue to struggle with the bat, Kaia has now set sights on making a difference in the national team.

“From my talk with Zimbabwe batting coach Lance Klusener, he always tells me that ‘be the change, and don’t wait for anyone to tell you that you have to do this or wait for someone to do it for you.’

“I am looking to be the change for the national team. I am going to be the guy to carry Zimbabwe in each and every game that I am going to play.

“I have realised that I can bat; what now I am looking forward is to win games for Zimbabwe. “Every time that I play or get selected, I need to win games for my country.” Innocent and his brother Roy keep pushing each other to do well.

Roy Kaia made his debut for Zimbabwe much earlier.

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