The Sunday Mail
The local cricket scene is full of unsung heroes, fellows whose impact might never be recognised if someone doesn’t tell the tale.
Names like Stanley and Brandon Timoni, Kuda Chirume, George Tandi quickly come to mind.
Well there is another lad whose story is interesting. His story involves Sam Curran, Thando Ntini, Mitch Marsh, Grand Flower, Dhananjaya De Silva.
Kuda Munyede is a first-class cricketer, coach and has first-hand experience of what’s it’s like to be in Australia’s changing room.
In The Oval this week this week, Brighton Zhawi chats to Munyede, a lightning quick fielder.
BZ: You are one of local cricket’s unsung heroes … do you concur?
KM: I actually don’t know hey.
BZ: Alright, I will prove so using names and you tell me your interactions with those names. Sam Curran.
KM: (laughs) His (late) dad, Kevin Curran, once coached Mash Eagles and the young man would come into the changing room and would have a chat with almost everyone. Whilst the game was on, we would practice commentary together. We also played club cricket together for Harare Sports Club first team in 2012/13.
BZ: How does it make you feel to see Sam playing for England and doing well for the Pommies?
KM: It’s amazing to be honest, having seen the young lad grow. It all goes to say nothing is impossible in this world.
BZ: Another name, Thando Ntini?
KM: Quality cricketer. His dad (Makhaya Ntini) asked me to do a few coaching sessions with him.
BZ: Mitch Marsh?
KM: Well, I didn’t interact much with him but when his dad was the Zimbabwe coach, my aunt was employed by their family.
BZ: When you met him when Australia toured Zimbabwe, he remembered?
KM: very much.
BZ: Grant Flower?
KM: (laughs) Probably because we share the same styles in cricket, right-hand batsmen and slow left arm spin, we just got along.
He was my coach at Midwest Rhinos during the 2014 season.
BZ: Which other names make this list … before I move to the Sri Lanka team? I might have left out other names of international cricketers you have some connection with, sort of.
KM: I’m pretty sure you didn’t miss any.
BZ: You are good friends with most of the Sri Lankan guys. How do you do it? Are you the nicest guy on earth?
KM: (laughs) Definitely, I’m not the nicest guy on earth. There are some who are way better than me . . . Well, I grew up in a family filled with love so generally we were taught just to be good human beings and to support the next person. You just don’t know what a helping hand will do for your life.
BZ: Who do you chat with the most amongst the Sri Lankans?
KM: Dananjaya De Silva.
BZ: I am sure it was nice catching up when they toured recently?
KM: You’ve got no idea mate, it was fantastic.
BZ: Changing room attending is a priviledge. What do you like most about the duty?
KM: It’s definitely a priviledge mate. Trust me when I say this, the duty requires you to be on your feet always but what I like most is being around the international stars, seeing how they go about their business.
BZ: What do you remember about your first experience? When was it and which international team had visited?
KM: It was actually Sri Lanka “A” in 2012, Dimuth Karunaratne captain now, Dilrwan Perera, Kusal Perera, Nuwan Pradeep and Niroshan their analyst were all on that tour. It was my first time so everything happened so fast, but I was excited.
BZ: Since then, which teams have you helped? I know Australia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka obviously . . .
KM: Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.
BZ: You are cricket’s everything. Player, qualified coach, fitness freak, changing room attendant. What does this game mean to you?
KM: It means so much to me mate. You know growing up watching it on TV, I became motivated to play the game, it became a passion but trust me I would be lying if I’m say I imagined myself reaching where I’ve reached with the game.
It has taught me lot and it’s a great priviledge.
BZ: You have played for Zimbabwe A. How was that?
KM: It was filled with mixed emotions, it was my first ever tour abroad (Bangladesh), I was excited, I was nervous, I had butterflies – I am sure you know what I mean. I never saw it coming so everything was just like a dream come true.
BZ: Do you feel you deserved another chance considering how impressive your performance was?
KM: Doing well or not doing well, I’m pretty sure we all deserve another chance, but as they say, one opportunity you get might be the last, you just never know.
BZ: And how has been your first-class experience over the years? Playing the Logan Cup, List A and T20s … it must be another priviledge?
KM: If I’m not mistaken, I’ve played 21 List A games, 16 first-class games and one T20 game. It’s greatly another priviledge and the experience is exciting, you get to learn a lot.
BZ: Some say you are one of quickest fielders in local cricket. How is that?
KM: All I know is I just enjoy my fielding and when I’m on the field I don’t want to be passed by a ball.
BZ: There is a story you almost fielded for UAE when they last toured Zim. What happened?
KM: One of the UAE players was injured and he couldn’t continue in the field but Zimbabwe was almost home and he ended up not leaving the field, that is what I remember.
BZ: A fitness fanatic … you have done running sessions with Hammy Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha, amongst other guys. You love running?
KM: Fitness really helps when I’m in the field, that is why I love my running.
BZ: You have played club cricket for sometime, you mentioned Harare Sports Club with Sam Curran. What do you think of the standards now? Moreover, you are a league-winning captain.
KM: The standards have deteriorated a lot, because the experienced players have not been available most of the time.
In the past seasons some games would be played without umpires and moreover the conditions at times won’t be the greatest. All said, the talent is there but for the young boys to learn quickly they need to play with the experienced guys so that they learn fast.
BZ: Tell us about leading Rainbow Cricket Club to their maiden league title, moreso by beating rivals Takashinga at their home ground?
KM: It was an unbelievable achievement, we had a great vibe in the team, positive minds, the team culture was amazing and above all we were one family, we celebrated each other’s success and the team effort was celebrated too.
Takashinga is full of good cricketers, who on any day will give you a good game. Moreover, at their home ground they always have fans who will be supporting them from ball one to the last ball, so for us it was a motivating factor. So beating a team which you know are way good enough always makes you feel good.
BZ: It is one of the great rivalries in Zimbabwe club cricket, it must be fun to play it?
KM: Definitely, one to be involved in.
BZ: How is coaching like? You have coached a number of young players.
KM: Coaching is good man, it has taught me patience mainly because I’ve coached young ones form the age of five.
As the boys get older you also know what approach you need to use to each one of them because they are all different.
BZ: Raza always give credits to you guys as his training partners. How is it like working with one of the best all-rounders of the game?
KM: As I said earlier, you never know what a helping hand will do to your life. Raza has been involved in a number of T20 leagues.
It comes with great experience so he gets to tell us what he goes through in all those different environments. The practice styles also change depending on what he wants to work on, we are there for few pointers helping him through his paces.
BZ: Who are some of the cricketers you enjoy working with?
KM: Larvert Masunda, Welly Masakadza, Trevor Garwe, Tapiwa Mufudza, Kuda Gafa Chirume and Chamu Chibhabha.
BZ: We will conclude with random questions . . . As a top fielder yourself who are your best fielders in Zimbabwe?
KM: Wellington Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Tymcen Maruma, Ainsley Ndlovu. Maybe I am the fifth (laughs).
BZ: When you are doing changing room attendance, do you celebrate if Zimbabwe beat the visitors?
KM: I do celebrate without showing any physical emotion (laughs).
BZ: What have you been watching a lot on TV during the lockdown?
KM: Mainly reality shows because of my wife, then sports, movies and all cricket highlights.
BZ: Thank you for chatting with me.
KM: My pleasure, mate.