HOPE and zeal were the general feeling showed by members of the Zimbabwe Under 19 Cricket World Cup touring party that returned home from Bangladesh on Sunday evening.
After failing to reach the semi-finals and having to contend with finishing in fifth position out of 16 participating nations, the young players nevertheless had their tails high.
The Zimbabwe team left a mark on the tournament with their zeal and determination which was evident even in defeat.
Team captain Tinotenda Mawoyo was a media darling with his sublime match analysis and effortless lead-ership skills. On arrival back home, the young player from Mutare had reserved some of it for the local press.
“It was a fantastic experience and an honour to lead my country and captain such a determined and well-disciplined side,” he said.
“We are all very proud. I would like to wish my mates the very best in future. I also want to thank the ZCU and the nation for their support and faith in us,” Mawoyo said.
Zimbabwe sailed through to the Super League stage courtesy of a seven wicket hammering of former champions Australia. Fast bowler Tinashe “Chokie” Panyangara did the damage, taking an explosive 6-31, the second best figure in the tournament’s 10-year history.
“After all the work I had put in with our two coaches Walter Chawaguta and Phil Simmonds I felt it was my responsibility to take wickets,” Panyangara said upon arrival on Sunday.
“Perhaps I was trying too hard that is why I gave away many runs. Anyway I would want to thank my team-mates for their encouragement and God for giving me the strength.”
Panyangara also owes his success at the tournament where he scooped 11 wickets to fellow paceman Edward Rainsford who did the vital holding job at the other end with his impressive economy rate.
He retained a figure of 2-23 in the victorious last match against New Zealand.
“I would have wanted to achieve a lot more than my total four wickets. I thought I bowled well but the wickets just would not come. It’s time to reflect and learn from our mistakes.” said Rainsford.
Opening batsman and wicketkeeper Brandan Taylor whose century against New Zealand came at the back of a poor run that saw him dismissed for ducks twice was also confident upon arrival back home.
“I did not have a great start to my tour but it finally paid off at the end. However cricket is a team effort and I was glad that we won some of the matches when I didn’t play well,” said Taylor.
It was also the stage for an unknown youngster from Bulawayo, Sean Williams, who travelled to the sub-continent with a nagging injury but ended as Zimbabwe’s most outstanding player. He scored a total of 157 runs and took five wickets from his off-spin bowling.
“I got good starts with the bat and I was a little disappointed not to have built up on that and went on to record bigger scores. In many respects I thought I did fairly well,” Williams said.
Team manager Dilip Chouhan said Zimbabwe would have gone all the way with a bit of luck.
“We scored 217 runs against England in our second Super League game and we should have won it if we had more than that,” Chouhan said.
“They only got their winning runs from the last ball of the 49th over and after the match their coach came to our changing room to congratulate our boys. Against Pakistan in the first Super League match we played well but we succumbed to the Pakistanis’ bowling which was the best at the tourney,” he said.