BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
LEFT-ARM bowlers are always a unique group of cricketers in the modern game.
Zimbabwe women cricket team left arm seamer Nomvelo Sibanda is one such player and only last month she bowled her way into the history books after she became the first Zimbabwean bowler, both men and women, to claim a hat trick in a T20i match let alone a final.
Sibanda struck a hattrick in her first over in the Capricorn Triseries final against hosts Namibia late last month to help the country lift the trophy.
The 25-year-old star, aptly nicknamed ‘Leftie’ by her teammates finished with impressive figures of five for 14 in that match.
Taking five wickets in a match is a milestone in itself in international cricket.
Sibanda reflected on her historic feat as well as cricket career in an interview with The Sports Hub.
“I was really humbled to get that hat trick and it actually made me realise that God makes everything beautiful in his own time. What made it even more special is that I became the first Zimbabwean cricketer male or female to take a hat trick in a T20i final,” Sibanda said.
Leftie also joined an elite club of Zimbabwean cricketers who have taken a hat trick in all formats of the game, which includes Eddo Brandes, Prosper and Andy Blignaut.
Sibanda is also delighted to have been part of the team that won the Capricorn Tri Series, which also involved Uganda in Windhoek.
“It was a huge honour to win the Tri Series for the country and it’s always a good feeling to be part of the winning team.
“We have a really special group of talented players with a positive mindset and I think we are actually heading in the right direction,” she said.
Sibanda has played three Women ODIs and 22 Women T20is capturing three and 27 wickets respectively.
In terms of goals, Sibanda is ultimately dreaming of playing at the World Cup one day among other things.
“I want to be part of the team that will qualify for the World Cup and obviously to be able to play in the big leagues like big bash,” she reveals.
Growing up Leftie had always been a sport enthusiast inspired mainly by the travelling that is involved.
And that’s how she ended up choosing a career in cricket.
“I am one person who loves travelling, making friends and experiencing different weather conditions so that made me choose cricket as a career as we get to travel a lot.
“I used to play netball and softball back in primary school and high school so yes I have always been a sports person.
“To end up playing cricket is something that just happened. I played cricket because everyone in my class at Mtshingwe Primary School was playing it back then and here I am,” Sibanda said.
Interestingly, Sibanda has played club cricket in a men’s team Nketa Cricket Club for the past four years, which has helped her to excel.
“I have been playing for NCC (Nketa Cricket Club), which is a guys’ team for four years now.
“They don’t have a competitive women’s team, which is why I play in a men’s team. This has helped me a lot in my game especially on the mental side,” the former Emakhandeni High School student said.
Born a left hander, Sibanda tells a story of how her grandmother was not always pleased with her using the left hand perhaps for cultural reasons.
“I have always been a left hander, I do everything using my left including eating and my grandmother always had a problem with me using that hand. But thankfully my dad was there all the time so he made sure that no one changed me,” she said.
And the left hand that grandmother disapproved has cast her into the echelons of Zimbabwe cricket history.
Away from the cricket field Sibanda is currently studying Human Resources Management with the Institute of Administration and Commerce.