HomeSportSouth African company launches street cricket in Zim

South African company launches street cricket in Zim

KWEKWE — A South African-based company — Sporting Chance — has launched street cricket in Zimbabwe.

The pilot project — Midwest Rhinos Street Cricket Challenge — was staged on the streets of Mbizo in Kwekwe last week.

Speaking during the inaugural challenge, Sporting Chance national development officer, Brad Bing said the idea of introducing street cricket was an attempt to involve more children in the sport.

“Due to the elitist form that the sport of cricket has been associated with, we hope to involve as many children in the sport from all walks of life,” Bing said.

He added that one of the major problems hindering the growth of cricket in Zimbabwe and Africa at large, was the lack of equipment and facilities, adding that street cricket was a panacea to these challenges.

“In Zimbabwe facilities are few and far-apart and this makes it difficult for many children, especially those who are financially disadvantaged, to partake in the sport. So by introducing street cricket, we do away with the expensive wickets and equipment as the only facility you need is a road, and there is plenty of that,” he explained.

He went on to say that street cricket was cost-effective as they were no permanent structures to build, while at the same time allowing as many games as possible to be played.

When asked about their target group which consists mainly of children under the age of 12, Bing said at that age children are at their developmental stage.

“At the age of 12 and under, a human body grasps a lot and it is easier to mould the kid into what you want and we hope that we identify as much talent as possible and then our coaches will take it from there,” he said.

Some of the aspects that differ from mainstream cricket include the electric wicket, the tick and run and market cricket.

“Electric wicket is just a new rule to try and make the sport fast and furious as a batsman can be run-out at any end of the wicket, while tick and run is self-explanatory in that once a batsman hits the ball they will have to make the run across the wicket,” said Bing.

Street cricket in Soweto

In South Africa street cricket has been a success, with more than three cricketers in the current squad having been picked up from similar grassroots initiatives.

“We want to afford coaches in Zimbabwe a wider base from which to identify talent. As the project is spread further, they will have a strong grassroots base to build their teams from. The Kwekwe project is just the beginning as we hope to spread the sport across the country,” he said.

Midwest Rhinos chief executive officer Kenyon Ziehl, who also graced the occasion, said that the launch was beyond expectations.

“It was fantastic. They did have great time on the field of play,” Ziehl said.

He went on to compliment the raw talent that was exhibited by the children, most of whom had never been exposed to cricket.

“Some of the players showed great composure and talent today and we hope that our coaches who are here quickly pounce to nurture the talent,” he said.

“The idea for now is to let the children have fun and then the coaches will follow through.”

Ziehl paid tribute to a number of sponsors who made the day a success, which included Dendairy, Bokomo Lays and Sporting Chance.

Midwest Rhinos area manager Admire Marodza said the event was a welcome gesture that would go a long way in improving the player base in the country.

“We are launching this game with the hope of catching the young players who do not have the opportunity to visit our grounds,” Marodza said.

“This is a pilot project that we are introducing to our community. There is a lot of young cricket talent that is lying idle in our communities. So by coming up with this programme, we hope we will also give them a platform to expose themselves,” he said.

The Midwest Rhinos Street Cricket Challenge was won by Emthonjeni who defeated BP in the final.

The eight teams that participated in the tournament included Bu Stop, AFM, Junction, Tower Light, Emthonjeni, BP, Kanzuru and Musimbe.

A team of street cricket is made up of six players who play six overs each and the rules differ from mainstream cricket.
The tournament was graced by Midwest Rhinos coaches from Kwekwe and Redcliff.

— Our Correspondent

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