The Sunday Mail
Deputy Sports Editor
FOR Blessing Muzarabani, life is about scoring small victories and never taking one’s eye off the ball.
That has been the biggest lesson for the 24-year-old who, despite feeling the full brunt of Covid-19 from his United Kingdom base in the last couple of months, could still afford to smile upon his return.
“Yeah, it is good to be back,” he said.
It has been a nervy couple of months for the Northamptonshire fast bowler who, apart from missing four months of cricket through injury, had to contend with the anxiety that came with the pandemic.
The UK is ranked 10th on the list of the most ravaged nations by the pandemic, with over 500 000 confirmed cases and 42 000 deaths to date.
Unaware of how serious the outbreak of the novel coronavirus would affect the world, Muzarabani and his Northamptonshire teammates actually went on a tour of Singapore.
“I remember when the news of the virus first broke out in Europe, not many people took it seriously,” he said.
“In fact, we actually ignored it, and we travelled to Singapore for a pre-season tour. It was during that trip that the virus started claiming lives, and we were called back to England as the country was preparing to go into lockdown and close all its borders.
“We spent about five days in Singapore and got back just in time for the lockdown,” he said.
With the virus now in full swing, this prompted a strong response from the UK government.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched a public health information campaign to help slow the virus’ spread and began posting daily updates in early February.
In the same month, UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, introduced the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 for England, and hospitals set up a drive-through screening.
The following month, the UK government imposed a stay-at-home order, dubbed “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”, banning all non-essential travel and contact with people outside one’s home (including family and partners), and shutting almost all schools, business, venues, facilities, amenities and places of worship.
“It was only when we got back home that people started dying, and we realised that the virus was deadly.
“The quarantine itself was hard on us both mentally and physically, as there was not much one could do locked up at home. Each time we turned on the television, the numbers kept getting higher and higher. It was a scary experience,” Muzarabani said.
Northamptonshire organised home gym equipment for all their players, something Muzarabani profited from as he was recovering from a minor injury. He was able to regain his fitness at home. He, however, has some wise words for his compatriots.
“The virus has killed a lot of people in Europe, and while not as severe here in Zimbabwe, I urge everyone to take it seriously. People should take this virus seriously because I have seen a lot of people dying from i.
“Look after yourself, follow the recommended guidelines and safety protocols and protect both yourself and your loved ones.”
Now that Muzarabani is safely back home, he quickly got down to business in the National Premier League.
Having been included in Takashinga Cricket Club for the NPL, the Zimbabwean got off to a solid start, taking five wickets during the club’s four-run loss to Easterns last week.
“It is a lovely feeling to be back home and playing club cricket again.
“Just to be back and playing with my mates again is a feeling I can’t really put into words,” he said.
Muzarabani has resumed his international career, having last played for the national team in 2018, to take up a Kolpak contract with English county side Northamptonshire.
Under the Kolpak deal, the lanky fast bowler could not represent his country.
The lanky seamer will be part of the Chevrons squad when they travel to Pakistan for a limited-overs series later this month.
The team leaves tomorrow.