Blignaut quits cricket — again!

ZIMBABWE cricket all-rounder Andy Blignaut has ditched the game once again after contract negotiations with Matabeleland Tuskers collapsed.

Blignaut, who has had an on-and-off relationship with the game since making his international debut in 1999, had returned to the game in February to play for Tuskers after turning his back on the game in 2004.
The player, who is a favourite among fans because of his trademark middle order brisk batting prowess, is no longer part of the national team or Tuskers as he has swapped the bat and ball with farming and mining.
Cricket sources told IndependentSport that Blignaut turned down an offer from Tuskers arguing that it fell short of his expectations.
The franchise had offered to renegotiate a new deal with him after he had proven his mettle.
The sources said the explosive batsman was not willing to compromise and wanted to get a new deal first before attaining the fitness level and performance required by Tuskers.
“The problem is he wanted Tuskers and ZC (Zimbabwe Cricket) to take a risk and he was not willing to prove himself first and then re-negotiate based on his performance,” said the source. “He was asking for quite a lot and Tuskers was hoping to offer him more once his performance merited.”
Convener of selectors Alistar Campbell, who brokered the deal for Blignaut’s return this year, confirmed that the player had quit once again.
“He didn’t take up the contract Matabeleland Tuskers offered him,” said Campbell. “He felt he could do better elsewhere.”
Blignaut’s departure comes as a blow to the national team’s prospects as he had become a valuable asset to the national team which is lacking in experience.
With glaring frailties in the bowling department, the seam bowler had been touted as a solution to Zimbabwe’s speed bowling limitations, which have been exposed in all the matches played this year.
After his return to the cricket scene, he re-established himself into the national team at the International Cricket Council T-20 World Cup in the West Indies.
The highlight of his return was during the Micromax triangular series against India and Sri Lanka in June this year, where in one of the matches against India he made figures of 1-22 in 10 overs.
Meanwhile, Campbell is still upbeat about Zimbabwe’s progress despite the whitewash defeat to South Africa, which included a 212 run hammering in Benoni last Friday.
“A lot of positives came out of that tour, we were playing against one of the best batting sides in the world and they have been in good form of late,” he said. “We performed well with the bat but we had a problem seaming. It’s early in the season and the guys realise now how different it is at international level and hopefully they will take their lessons learnt into the next matches.”
He also conceded that the tour to Bangladesh is going to be an acid test for Zimbabwe as they seek to measure their progress.
Bangladesh showed they are a good side with their whitewash win over New Zealand last week.
Zimbabwe will tour Bangladesh next month for a five-match series. — Staff Writer.

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