For God and country

18 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
For God and country

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

AS if we needed another reason to adore the man, Chevrons’ all-rounder Ryan Burl is fast developing a reputation as the gift that keeps on giving.

The 28-year-old Marondera-born cricketer is currently the talk of town following his 18-ball five-wicket haul that helped Zimbabwe to a three-wicket victory over Australia recently. The win was Zimbabwe’s first-ever Down Under. Previously, the Chevrons had lost 12 ODIs and two Tests against Australia.

Burl’s five for 10 runs almost single-handedly gave Australia (141) their second lowest total against Zimbabwe in One-Day Internationals, while the 18 balls he needed to complete that haul is the second fewest number of deliveries taken for a five-for in men’s ODIs since 2001.

Burl also became the first Zimbabwe player to take a five wickets against Australia, eclipsing Duncan Fletcher’s four for 42 during the 1983 World Cup as the best bowling performance against the Aussies.

But, to his credit, the Chevrons’ linchpin has been pretty level-headed about his performance, which was best captured by the Sony Sports Network tweet that read “18 balls, five wickets, one Burl”.

For him, it was just another game.

“I am over the moon and elated about the victory over Australia, especially in Australia. It is a massive feat for us, and gives great confidence heading into the T20 World Cup also in Australia,” Burl said of the win.

When attention turns to his individual performance, he said: “I am not really letting it get to my head.

“For me, it was just another game of cricket, another victory for us and it gives us momentum going forward.

“Every day that I am going to step onto the field, I will put my hand up to do the best I can for my country.”

While he may sound a bit cavalier about both the win and his performance, it is important to note that he is no stranger to attention.

After all, this is the same man who cut short his university education in the United Kingdom all in the hope of returning to Zimbabwe to don the Chevrons jersey again.

He glued a pair of torn shoes together just to go back on the field and play, sending a plea for help to prospective sponsors.

This saw him become a social media sensation after Puma Germany responded to his call.

He said his decision to abandon his studies at Southampton University and embark on a cricket career was “difficult, but also an easy one to make”, as he always wanted to test himself against the best cricketers in the world.

“The decision to come back to Zimbabwe from university in the UK was about dedication, as I am very passionate and patriotic about Zimbabwe Cricket.

“Also, playing international cricket has always been the dream and at the forefront of all my goals,” he said.

Eight years after the decision, Burl has no regrets.

In fact, he looks back on the last couple of years with fondness.

“It’s very hard to choose a best career moment, for there have been many, from hitting Shakib al Hasan for 30, hitting Nasum Ahmed for 34 runs in an over to the more recent five for 10 against Australia.

“Those are some of my career highs.

“They pale in comparison, however, to the series win in Sri-Lanka in 2017.

“That one sticks out the most, together with the recent wins against Bangladesh and the T20 World Cup Qualifiers.

“The team moments stick out more than individual milestones.”

And, no Burl interview would be complete without mentioning the shoe incident from 2021.

“I am very passionate and patriotic about Zimbabwe,” he said.

“It does not matter whether it is some torn shoes or broken bats, we are always looking to improve and get better so we can represent our country.

“The badge of Zimbabwe means a lot to us.”

Share This: