Mavunga, The gem from Domboshava

18 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Mavunga, The gem from Domboshava

The Sunday Mail

Don Makanyanga
Sports Reporter

FOR a sport that is largely dominated by statistics, the rare gem that is Michelle Mavunga, a cricketer, is probably best understood through her personality.

At the tender age of 17, she is currently on the cusp of a promising international career, and is one of the country’s talents to watch.

However, the medium-pace bowler has surprisingly found a way to stay humble and level-headed despite showers of praise and countless pats on the back during her short but memorable start to international cricket.

To her peers, family and community in the peri-urban residential area of Domboshava, the Lady Chevrons’ bowler still finds time to meet and mingle with her neighbours.

Her time is spent on household chores, cricket and being a netball coach at her former school, Munyawiri Primary School, which is a stone’s throw away from her home.

She doubles up as their cricket coach.

Maybe she owes her achievements to humble beginnings in Domboshava, which is about half-an-hour’s drive from the Harare central business district.

It is probably due to the values her parents, John and Angeline Mavunga, instilled in her.

The Sunday Mail Sport recently took a trip to Domboshava to get some insights from the amazing cricket talent.

“To be honest, I can’t believe the strides I have made in my career so far. It seems it has been all a dream,” said Mavunga, who was clad in her Lady Chevrons training short and Alliance Health Eagles’ shirt.

Seated next to her mother, who was wearing a Zimbabwe national team cap and shelling some peanuts, Mavunga went on to chronicle how she took up the sport by accident.

“I used to play handball and netball at school (Munyawiri Secondary School), and cricket was never my game.

“I did not understand the sport at all,” she went on.

“However, one particular day our physical education teacher and cricket coach, Harmony Kurisa, was conducting bowling lessons and was impressed with my bowling action.

“He then asked why I was not coming for cricket practice. I initially told him that I was not interested because I did not understand the sport.

“That was not entirely true, as the main reason I did not play was that I feared him.

“He was that kind of a teacher who was known as a disciplinarian.”

Ever the astute cricket mentor, the Harmonics Cricket Academy founder and coach saw through it all.

After failing to convince her to try out the sport, he decided to bring in reinforcements in the form of her parents.

“I remember we were doing cricket lessons, in particular, the bowling session, and Michelle (Mavunga) came tops on bowling action in her class,” recalled Kurisa.

“However, she was not part of the girls who were playing cricket at the school.

“I said to myself, ‘This one is a natural bowler’. All she needed was a bit of polishing up.

“At first, she refused to join the cricket team, and so I decided to engage her parents.

“Luckily, her parents believed me, and not long after, we managed to convince her to give it a try.”

Two weeks after her first session, Mavunga got a spot in the school team, and just in time to participate at the Mashonaland East Cricket Tournament.

It was at this tournament that she was selected to represent Mashonaland East Province at the national games, which were held in Masvingo.

This is where she caught the eye of Lady Chevrons’ assistant coach Sinikiwe Mpofu.

“At the provincial tournament, I was named player of the tournament and asked to come and train with Alliance Health Eagles ladies’ team.”

Her father said after her accomplishments, they decided to give her all the support she needed.

“I would take her to Harare, where she would practise at Harare Sports Club.

“To have a daughter representing the country, to be honest, is not something we had not envisioned in our lifetime.

“We still find it hard to believe sometimes,” he said.

Mavunga won several player-of-the-match awards during her debut 2020-2021 season, which soon led to a Lady Chevrons call-up.

She made her debut for the national team early this year against Namibia and has since claimed seven wickets in her first five matches for the senior team.

While she did not make the cut for the T20 World Cup Qualifiers that begin in Dubai today, she has set her sights on making a mark at next year’s Under-19 ICC Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

“My dream is to help the country win the U-19 World Cup.

“After that, my wish is to play overseas and be among the best bowlers in the world,” she said.

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