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Du Preez –– Zim legend

JACKIE Du Preez was one of the few Zimbabwean cricketers of his generation to play Test cricket when he represented South Africa as an all-rounder in two Tests in 1967 when local players were eligible to play for South Africa. The 68-year-old is presently a Zimbabwe national selector.

What were your best moments representing South Africa?
Just to represent South Africa. They were the best Test side in the world. And earning Springboks colours alongside all those world-class players was a great achievement for me.
Who was the best Rhodesian/Zimbabwean cricketer during your time?
As a bowler I would pick Joe Patridge, the great pace bowler. In the batting it’s Tony Pithey. It’s hard to pick any particular one player because there were a lot of fine players during our time.
Who was the most difficult batsman you bowled to in South Africa?
Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock.
Peter Pollock.
In your opinion who was the greatest Zimbabwean player after 1980?
I would say Andy Flower or Dave Houghton.
Who is the best ever international player in your view?
It’s got to be a chap by the name of Sir Gary Sobers from the West Indies. He was a top batsman and a top, top bowler. He is the best player who ever played international cricket. I met him once when he came to Zimbabwe. He is a very, very nice person too.
What do you have to say of the current crop of Zimbabwean players?
We’ve got the talent but to get it together is quite a challenge.
Who is the most talented Zimbabwean player in the current squad?
On the batting,  I look at Sean Williams, the young left-hander from Bulawayo. I’m sorry to hear that he is always injured.
In bowling we have Chris Mpofu. It’s very difficult to say who the best is because we want them all to be good.
How is it being a selector?
It frustrates at times because you want them (the players) to do well . . . maybe we ask too much of them. Maybe it takes time.
Do you have any regrets in your cricket career?
I’ve no regrets. Perhaps the only regret is that I retired two to three years earlier. But at some stage you feel your eyesight and reflexes are no longer what they should be, so you retire.
What do you do in your spare time?
I watch a lot of sports. I enjoy watching schoolboy cricket and rugby.
I also have a fulltime job with a tobacco company in Harare.
I have worked for them for 27 years.

Interview by Enock Muchinjo

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