The Sunday Mail
HE doesn’t spot the bleached-blond hair, ooze the swag or possess the pace of Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga, but that hasn’t stopped many from drawing comparison between the 35-year-old sling sensation from the Sub-continent and Zimbabwe’s own Daniel Jackiel.
He is a slinger armed with an uncanny bowling action and his route to the top, albeit still climbing the ladder, is through net-bowling.
Just like Lasith Malinga.
Jackiel, 28, who prefers the bald hairstyle, has flown under the radar for quite some time, operating as a club cricketer and an occasional net bowler for Zimbabwe and many other visiting nations.
But times could be changing for Jackiel who stunned the Australians as a net bowler in June.
There is a story that Australia coach Justin Langer joked Jackiel was a spy disguised as a net-bowler after Langer was mesmerised by the 28-year-old skill.
Impressed too was Mash Eagles coach Stuart Matsikenyeri who immediately jumped on the opportunity sign the young lad and drafted him into his white-ball cricket plans.
“It felt good to be selected to play for Mash Eagles,” said Jackiel who, for the first time, was called into the franchise squad when Eagles played Mid-West Rhinos earlier this month.
“I told myself that should the opportunity to play arise, I would make full use of it and win games for my team.
“I’m still at a loss for words.
“I never believed that one day I would get selected to play for Mashonaland Eagles, but now I think there are still bigger things in store for me in the future,” he said.
Dare to dream Danny boy, for the domestic season ends with a T20 tournament in March, while the World T20 Qualifiers lie in wait
Already, ‘Malinga’- as Jackiel is now affectionately known as in cricket circles- has impressed those that have caught a glimpse of him bowling, and the list is not confined to the Australians and Matsikenyeri alone.
The lad also earned rave reviews from Sri Lankan coaches when they last toured Zimbabwe in 2016.
“The slinging action comes naturally and because of its similarity to Malinga’s mates started calling me Malinga and he eventually became a role model.
“I remember meeting with Sri Lanka bowling coach, he told me how Lasith Malinga used to practice and I applied it and it’s working,” said Jackiel.
Jackiel speaks glowingly of the positive compliments he got from the Aussies.
“I was really touched and surprised when everyone came and said “Well bowled”. “I was so happy to bowl to Aussie batsmen as a net bowler.
“I bowled to (Glenn) Maxwell, Aaron Finch, (Jack) Wildermuth, and even managed to chat with Richardson.
“I got a bat from him…it was really great,” he said.
Off the field, Jackiel is just a normal guy balancing work and his cricket.
“You have to balance the two to achieve your goals and know where your bread and butter is.
“I work at Matizanadzo and Warhust as a legal clerk,” he said.
Speaking on Jackiel; Mash Eagles coach Matsikenyeri said: “I have been impressed by Jackiel’s skills especially with the white ball I am excited with what he can offer.”