Ethan Dube's life in cricket

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe youth international medium fast bowler Ethan Dube rues a knee injury for taking away his chance of representing the national team when it gained Test status in 1992.

He however finds solace in that he was part of a ground breaking group of black cricketers, who broke onto the then white dominated domestic scene and, unbeknown to them, became role models for more black cricketers of a later generation.

His genuine pace and accuracy saw him play in the Zimbabwe youth teams with his heroics earning him a cap into the Zimbabwe select side for the  England tour in 1990.

Dube later graduated into the Zimbabwe senior national team for the tour to England and the ICC trophy in Holland.

However a knee injury which occurred on the England leg of the tour saw him unable to complete the series.

Consequently Dube spent the rest of that season recovering and playing cricket in Birmingham, rubbing shoulders with future England players.

Despite the injury, Dube was still good enough to win selection into the national under-23 team to tour South Africa.

“Sadly the knee injury I suffered in the UK had been more serious than I thought and I had subconsciously changed my bowling action to accommodate my weakened knee,” he says, adding:

“This resulted in serious back problems which I have not got over to this day. My pace, which had always been my asset, dropped markedly and by 1992 I was a shadow of the player I had been.

“From 1992 onwards I never played a game without pain and by 1994, I had stopped bowling altogether.”

That abrupt end of his playing career saw Dube go into cricket administration as convener of Matabeleland selectors and national selector in 2004.

The former Falcon College student says despite being one of few black cricketers in a then white dominated sport, he never encountered the problem of racism.

“Throughout my playing career, I can honestly say I never encountered any form of racial prejudice, both on a social and cricketing perspective,” he says.

“I started playing club cricket in 1986 for the Mac Club B league team. The average age of that team was close to 40 and I was 16 and the only black in the team but at no stage was I made to feel unwelcome or different from the others.

“If I had, I would have simply stopped playing cricket. There were instances where I felt hard done, but at the same time there instances where I saw white cricketers being given the short end of the stick,” Dube says

Born in September 1970 Dube’s love for the gentleman’s game was one of coincidence.

“My career started in a most humorous way. As a 10-year-old at Baines Junior in Bulawayo in 1981, I was on my way to catch the bus home when a teacher asked if I wanted to play for the colts cricket team that day. One of the players had not turned up for some reason and they were short.

“I don’t know if I agreed or if I was forced to but I ended up playing, even though I had never so much as held a cricket ball or bat in my hand. In that match I took a couple of catches without even realizing that I had been involved in the dismissal of what must be the most unfortunate batsmen ever.

“The coach insisted I turn up for practice and I was a regular member of that team for the rest of that season.”

The Bulawayo raised Dube, who would later became one of the country’s leading cricket administrators, rose to prominence in the Matabeleland Junior School team of 1983.

He went on to play for Matabeleland senior schools and Zimbabwe Schools for three years from 1987 to 1989 touring, Australia and New Zealand respectively.

As an 18-year-old, in 1988, besides being picked for the Zimbabwe Schools team that toured New Zealand, Dube was picked for the Zimbabwe B team that played against the touring Sri Lanka.

Dube was also picked by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union to be one of the four Zimbabwean players in an ICC composite team at the first Junior World Cup in Australia the following year as the country was not yet achieved Test status.

The former Falcon College multi-talented student was an equally gifted hockey player and at one time he had to forgo his first love to pursue his hockey interests.

“In 1989 I was selected to tour the United Kingdom with the National Under-25 team but had to decline selection because I had already committed to a hockey tour to Holland and Germany,” he says.

The former Matebeland convener of selectors says he is still willing to take an active role in the running of the sport in the country if the opportunity was to present itself.

“It is both an honour and a privilege to serve your country in any way possible, particularly in doing what you really love,” he says.

In the sporting front Dube was recently appointed as one of the nine board members of the Sports and Recreation Commission that begun their three year tenure yesterday.

The former Matabeleland pace bowler is also managing director of Peretz Marketing, who have recently been given the distributorship of Samsung mobile products in Zimbabwe.

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