HAMILTON MASAKADZA is the godfather in the Chevrons dressing room, and it’s not surprising that a man who has been in international cricket trenches for 16 years has such status. Most of the players call Masakadza “Mudhara Hammy”.
By Brighton Zhawi
The 33-year-old batsman, who announced his arrival in grand style with a Test cricket tonne against the West Indies at Harare Sports Club in July 2001, has seen it all. Masakadza has been to the apex and has hit a nadir, too. All too often, it seems his career goes wherever the wind takes it rather than him being in total control of his fortunes.
Right now the wind is taking Masakadza back to glory just when many thought he was winding down to a spluttering retirement.
In Sri Lanka – Hambantota to be specific – Masakadza produced a man of the series show, including a first century against the Sri Lankans.
His 111 propelled Zimbabwe to 310/8 in the third ODI and the opening batsman last week told The Sunday Mail Sport how he savoured that historic knock. “Probably my best one yet,” said Masakadza in an interview from Sri Lanka. “I enjoyed the pace at which I scored. I particularly enjoyed how I managed to manipulate the field and execute the options we worked on with the batting coach especially against the spin,” he said.
Evidently, the proverbial wind had nothing to do with that shift in career gears as Mudhara Hammy looked well in control of proceedings.
Not that the real wind did not have an effect.
“The wind was really difficult to deal with. I have been to some windy places before but I have never experienced anything like this, it almost pushed me off my stance a few times.
“And it was really funny because people chasing hats and caps was pretty much the order of the day starting at warm up. You definitely have to adapt your game and try to use it to your advantage and make sure you don’t fight it by playing aerial shots into it,” he said.
The burly batter produced another important knock of 73 to help Zimbabwe chase Sri Lanka’s modest target of 203 for the historic ODI series win in the fifth game.
Masakadza was to average 51,60 in the five innings, and that showing has earned him a lot of breathing space, though he is the first to admit that the nation expects him to lead from the front at all times.
When you’re called Mudhara Hammy, you should always be the big man for the big moment. “There is always pressure to get a score and set the team up for a big one at the top of the order,” said Masakadza. “I went into the series under a bit of pressure but I can’t really say I felt it any more than I would normally feel in any other series. The pressure is always there.
“We have a lot of cricket lined up and I hope to be more consistent. The coaches have been very supportive and it’s up to me to implement the things we work on at training. It worked perfectly during the ODI series and I have no doubt that it will continue to work going forward.”