The Sunday Mail
AT the tender age of 24, Brian Mudzinganyama is still a novice cricketer.
With the young man only having played one Test match against Sri Lanka, during which he scored a paltry 16 runs, the left-handed batsman has already had quite an eventful start to his international career.
Mudzinganyama holds the distinction of being the country’s first cricket concussion substitute, a record that took place on January 22 in his debut Test match against Sri Lanka.
Ironically, two months later, he also became the victim of a concussion.
Today, the opening batsman considers himself lucky to be around to tell the tale of his horrific clash with Tuskers wicket-keeper Allan Chingoma, during a Logan Cup tie on March 4 at Harare Sports Club.
Playing for Rangers, Mudzinganyama was left bleeding heavily from a broken nose after a collision with Chingoma.
“I feel much better. I thank the Lord, my friends and family; they really supported me through that ordeal.
“It was the most painful period I have ever experienced while playing cricket,” he said.
He recalls the crash.
“I wanted to take a quick single after hitting to mid-off, but the non-striking batsman called ‘no’, so I turned back to my crease.
“I lost my bat and I had to slide into the crease, and that is where I collided with the keeper, who was going in for a stumping.
“I remember bleeding heavily from my nose, and (I) was sure that it was broken.
“When I went to the hospital, the doctors told me that my brain shook a bit, worsening the situation.”
Being a cricket nuffie, Mudzinganyama went on to bat again until the matchday physio had to order him off.
“I wanted to go back and bat … I actually did until the doctor ordered me out.
“I was on 68, and was looking for a big score.I wanted a 200,” said the left-handed opener. Even on his recovery bed, Mudzinganyama had his team on his mind.
“I remember calling Clive (Chitumba, former Rangers captain) when I was in hospital and asking him how the game ended.
“I was more concerned with winning; we had discussed in the changing room about playing for a win, and I wanted to contribute.
“I was coming from Bangladesh and was looking forward to that game. Cricket is an addictive sport. It is difficult to spend hours without thinking about it.
“I cannot spend a day without doing something cricket-related,” he said.
After it all sunk in following a week in hospital, “Bruno” now fully understands what Kevin Kasuza went through when he was hit on the head fielding at short-leg during the Test match against Sri Lanka.
Kasuza was concussed and Mudzinganyama came in as a replacement.
“To be honest with you, when I went in to bat as a concussion sub, I was happy as it afforded me the chance to play.
“However, when it then happened to me, I realised the pain is so unbearable.
“It made me realise what Kevie (Kasuza) probably went through . . . “Even after I was discharged from hospital, I would experience mild headaches.
“We have not talked about concussion with Kevie, but I hope one day we can have a chat on it.”
Mudzinganyama has been eyeing a comeback on the domestic scene, but since all cricket has since been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, that will have to wait.
“It is the right thing to do for the safety of people around the world . . . it is a worldwide crisis,” he said.
“As a player I am a bit low; I miss cricket, but I do not intend to rush my comeback.
“It is still a process, I have to gradually work my way back to full training, obviously, and stay guided by the doctor’s advice.”
As a result of the collision, Mudzinganyama now spots a tiny scar on his nose, which he views as a reminder of the gift of life.
“You have to appreciate life and give thanks to the Lord for the day, especially if you wake up healthy,” he said.