Twin prodigies who never realised full potential

HARARE - Years ago, when Mark Waugh was trying in vain to win a place in the Australian Test team alongside his twin brother Steve, he was nicknamed Afghanistan (the forgotten Waugh).

Former Zimbabwe Test player Everton Matambanadzo was also in the same predicament during his prime in the 90’s with his twin brother Darlington, playing second fiddle.

When they were young, Darlington, the older of the two, generally seemed to take the lead while Everton followed.

They began first-class cricket almost together, back in the 1993/94 season while still at school, when Darlington was considered as the more promising of the two.

Little was heard of them for a while as they began courses at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.

But then Everton burst suddenly into the Zimbabwean Test team and, although his career was erratic, he was always there on the fringes.

A genuine fast bowler, Everton was an example of Zimbabwe’s ability to take promising young cricketers almost out of nowhere, and pitch them into international cricket, with success.

Though Everton had previously been regarded as a promising player for several seasons, but certainly at the end of the 1995-96 season nobody thought his international debut was imminent.

Sadly, he was to fade away in his early 20s, repeatedly hampered by a string of niggling injuries, and became an example instead of how Zimbabwe often loses talented players while still in their prime.

Unable quite to regain his best form, he missed selection for several seasons before marrying and settling in the United States in 2001.

Whilst Everton was basically a bowler, Darlington was an all-rounder who however, never scaled the lofty heights of his brother Everton, a former Zimbabwe Test cricketer.

Darlington however, showed early signs of prominence debuting, for Zimbabwe Under-19s in July 1993.

This was after he had made his first-class debut aged just 17 years-old for Mashonaland Under-24 against Matabeleland, taking one wicket for 24 and none for 10 and remaining unbeaten on zero.

Darlington took his best bowling figures of four wickets for 52 runs against Mashonaland Country Districts in September 1994.

His cricketing development was however, postponed as he entered the University of Zimbabwe, initially to study Accountancy before switching to Economics.

This made it difficult for Darlington to regain his cricketing form and after struggling in domestic cricket, considered retiring from cricket to concentrate on his job as a financial consultant.

Darlington made his highest first-class score of 80 for Mashonaland against Manicaland but was still unable to break into the Zimbabwean side.

He would play his final match in Zimbabwe, a List A match for Manicaland against Midlands at Alexandra Sports Club in 2006, scoring one and taking no wicket for seven from one over before moving to Malawi to teach cricket and hockey at Saint Andrew’s International High School.

Though both players’ talent was unquestionable especially Everton, they never realised their full potential on the international stage owing to a lack of work ethic. — Sports Writer/Cricinfo

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