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Ngarava inspires Goromonzi community

Ngarava, renowned for his pace and swing bowling skills, decided to return to humble beginnings and offer his expertise to the struggling cricket club, hoping to inspire the next generation.

LOCATED in the town of Goromonzi, a stone throw away from the famous academic institution Goromonzi High School, a cricket academy battles against the odds.

For years, Goromonzi Sharks Cricket Academy has toiled in the shadows, struggling to keep its spirit alive amidst dwindling resources and waning community interest.

However, on Friday, a ray of hope emerged in the form of a surprise visit by national team fast bowler Richard Ngarava whose passion for the game and unwavering commitment to his roots compelled him to lend a helping hand.

The Zimbabwe left-arm seamer took time out of his busy schedule to be with the budding cricketers from Goromonzi as he was coming from a national team practice at Harare Sports Club where the Chevrons are preparing for the tour of Bangladesh next month.

Ngarava, renowned for his pace and swing bowling skills, decided to return to humble beginnings and offer his expertise to the struggling cricket club, hoping to inspire the next generation.

In a two-hour interactive session divided into three categories; fieding, batting and bowling, the speed merchant  simplified everything, asking questions and explaining why certain things are done. 

Ngarava is no extrovert although he just loves to let his work on the field of play do all the talking.

He had a stellar 2023 season picking 26 wickets in 15 T20I matches at a staggering economy rate off 5.6 runs per over which led to him being named in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Team of the Year for 2023.

He is now one of the most sought-after players on the T20 franchise circuit having featured in the Lankan Premier League. He plays for Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League and Bangladesh Premier League where he has been in the dressing room and rubbing shoulders with big international stars.

The 26-year-old has also featured in the lucrative International League T20 (ILT20).

Despite globe-trotting and playing in the various T20 franchise leagues, Ngarava continues to wear a humble demeanor.

“My passion for development  is what brought me to Goromonzi and my exposure to the big T20 leagues has reminded me of all the development coaches who took a chance with me and if they hadn't done that, I probably wouldn't be where I am today,” Ngarava told The Sports Hub on the sidelines of his outreach programme.

“I want these boys and girls to one day follow in my footsteps and even surpass all that I have achieved. Hopefully, my coming here has also demystified myths that they have about national team players because I was once like them but through hard work and the grace of God I am where I am today.”

During his two-hour session there was an element that impressed the Eagles’ bowler the most?

“I have seen a good fast bowler who, in my opinion, should be in the Under-19 women's squad and I will be talking to coach Trevor Garwe about it,” he added.

"But above all I have been impressed more by their Under-11 team; they have grasped the basics very well and exude this confidence that is contagious. "Like I have been telling them, the first thing is to enjoy the game and once you do that, you will go far. The under-11 were enjoying every drill that we did in training today.”

Goromonzi Sports Club used to be a cricket centre, but it's now a shadow of its former glory with a dilapidated clubhouse. However, the leadership at Sharks Academy are working hard to give the place a facelift and revive cricket in the town.

“I would like to commend the twins (Tineyi and Tapiwa Chisikarambwe) for the hard work they are putting in day in and day out. It's not easy to attract 60 to 80 kids, it means there are some things they are doing right,” said Ngarava.

“My coming here today was just to buttress what they are doing. Sometimes all the players need is just a change of voice; I probably said things they have heard in the past but they are now going to act on them because they have heard it from me.”

Ngarava, who gave the club a new set of cricket balls and two of his signed national cricket jerseys, has pledged to continue helping Goromonzi Sharks Academy.

“I easily get attached to people, I feel I am now part of the Goromonzi cricket community and I am going to continue to assist in every little way I can,” he pledged.

“I would like to thank Select Brands, the makers of Wavies potato chips who, when they heard that I will be conducting a training session in Goromonzi, donated boxes of chips which were well received by the players. I hope more brands and sponsors will come on board and support the work being done in Goromonzi.”

Goromonzi Sharks is the brainchild of the Chisikarambwe twins, Tineyi and Tapiwa.

“We are happy to have managed to get Richard Ngarava down here and I know that his presence alone will bring in a lot of impetus to the game in Goromonzi,” said Tineyi.

“Sometimes, all you need is someone who is playing at the highest level to come and talk to the boys and girls sharing his wealth of knowledge and incorporating innovative training methods to push the boundaries of their capabilities. Who knows, one day a boy or a girl from Goromonzi will play for their country,” added Tapiwa.

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