KC's legacy of patriotism and passion

HARARE - One of my fondest memories of Kevin Curran was his trademark restlessness during a flight to South Africa in 2005 for a week-long training camp with the Zimbabwe cricket side.

For the duration of the flight, KC could hardly stay in his seat, constantly moving up and down the plane, from seat to seat, chatting with the players about tactics, I presumed.

I wondered silently what he had to say that couldn’t wait until the one-and-half hour flight, but it was this almost childlike enthusiasm which defined the man.

Often maligned for his coaching tactics, which many cricket lovers labelled as a negative approach to the game, one thing you couldn’t take away from Curran was his passion for the game and love for his country.

A disciplinarian of the old school, he was as tough as teak, a stubborn streak which often saw him ruffle feathers in cricket circles and in his private life.   

He coached the weakest Zimbabwean team ever assembled due to player desertion at the height of crisis in the local game, and I often felt with his infectious enthusiasm, he was perhaps the best man under such circumstances to lead players who needed to make up with passion what they lacked in ability.  

Born in a sporty farming family in Rusape 53 years ago, Curran grew up playing sports on the farm alongside his cousin Kenyon Ziehl, a former national selection panel head and currently CEO of the Midwest Rhinos franchise.

His late father, Kevin Snr, represented Rhodesia at both cricket and rugby.

Having spent many years abroad during a successful career in English county cricket, his love for his country of birth was undoubted.

Following that trip to South Africa, Bangladesh toured for an ODI series in Harare which they won, and I remember captain Prosper Utseya trying hard to supress tears following a typical outburst from Curran in the post-match team talk.

A flared-up Curran took his tirade to the press conference, slandering his players, right there in front of reporters, for letting themselves down lacking patriotism.

Curran met his death on Wednesday morning when he suffered a heart attack while jogging in Mutare, where he had travelled with his team Mashonaland Eagles to play against hosts Manicaland Mountaineers.

A fitness enthusiast, who in the words of former teammate Alistair Campbell, could at a ripe age of 53 “take anyone on and beat them at a fitness test,” KC died the way he lived, working on his fitness.

He leaves a wife and three young sons, Sam, Tom and Ben.

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