The Sunday Mail
Luke Jongwe, the young cricketer whose international career screeched to a halt following a string of disciplinary issues over his drinking, says he is a new man.
The apologetic all-rounder has expressed regret over his past actions, which he says brought shame upon him and saw him down his country, family and friends.
Booze got the better of Jongwe when he was just 21.
In 2016 he was involved in a car accident in the company of his former Zimbabwe U19 team mates Delan Hondo and Herbert Chikomba.
Jongwe suffered a cut on his forehead.
There is a story of a drunk Jongwe burning a US dollar note all in the name of having fun.
That same year of 2016 saw Jongwe and Tendai Chisoro breaking a curfew during national team camp in Bulawayo, and both were expelled from the Chevrons.
The 23-year-old is yet to don national team colours since.
“I won’t lie to you, I have messed up, yes; and I have let a lot of people down — my country, family, friends and the (Zimbabwe Cricket) Board,” he said in an interview with The Sunday Mail Sport last week.
“It wasn’t easy starting over again, especially after that Bulawayo incident. Since then I have trying to make amends, though sometimes I think it was all a dream. Unfortunately, that was my reality.
“I have never got the chance to say how sorry I am for the mistakes I have made in the past. I decided to take some time off and go to England and ever since I have managed to say to myself that life is what you make it. All I want to do now is repay the people I disappointed by winning games for them that’s all.”
The worst appears to be behind the talented all-rounder, who takes every day as a second chance to do right by those he disappointed.
“It cost me a lot of things, but like the saying goes: In life everything happens for a reason.
“ I went back to square one with the help of my mum, dad, sister and not forgetting my girlfriend Panashe. They have been with me and there for me every single day.
“The people I thought were my friends were not even there for me in this period. . . It’s always hard to change from one lifestyle to another especially from up to down. But my mum kept saying to me keep taking it one day at a time, eventually it will happen, and encouraged me to involve God more in my life and fear Him,” said the former Tuskers player. Jongwe is one of the finest cricketers of his generation.
He has the sixth-best ODI figures for Zimbabwe after his five-wicket haul against Afghanistan in what was to be his last series for Zimbabwe in 2016.
The domestic season gets underway tomorrow and Jongwe who has moved from Tuskers to Eagles. He will miss the first round of action as he recovers from a finger injury picked up during training.
“I am gutted to miss the first game, but it’s something I can’t control,” he said. “Going into the season I am not going to say much but will let my batting and bowling do the talking.”