Gentleman on, off the field

HARARE - His name is Tinotenda which translates to “grateful” and it was no surprise that his first answer during this interview was a statement of thanksgiving.

“For me, I wouldn’t have done it without God’s grace, that alone is the greatest weapon that keeps me going,” he tells the Daily News on Sunday.

“But on my part, I would say I do put in a lot of time and effort as I work hard on my game behind the scenes.”

Such is rare show of maturity from a 24-year-old Zimbabwe national cricket team fringe all-rounder and Mashonaland Eagles star Tinotenda Confidence Mutombodzi.

The former Mash Eagles skipper had a splendid season with the bat in the country’s premier domestic cricket tournament, the Logan Cup.

Although the Harare-based franchise finished in third place, Mutombozi was the competition’s highest run scorer with 630 in just nine Logan Cup matches at an average of 39.37.

The right-handed batsman’s 230 from 277 deliveries in a drawn match against Mountaineers in Mutare in February this year was the season’s highest individual score.

Mid West Rhinos Vusi Sibanda’s 173 and Mash Eagles wicketkeeper batsman Joylord Gumbie’s 168 not out are a distant second and third respectively.

He also picked up nine wickets with a best of 2 for 14 with his leg spin, averaging 50.00 and an economic bowling rate of 3.31.

Mutombodzi also played a blinder in the decisive Pro 50 Championship final against Matabeleland Tuskers in Bulawayo with a 76-ball 79 to guide Mash Eagles to a four-wicket win.

In the absence of injured franchise captain Greg Lamb, Mutombodzi hoisted the trophy, a wonderful feeling it was according to the 24-year-old.

“I wasn’t the captain for the season. I only got to lead the team when our captain Greg Lamb got injured. He led us well throughout the season,” he said.

“It wasn’t easy to fill in his big shoes whenever I was required to because he is a player with plenty of experience under his belt. Obviously with the help of the senior guys and youngsters in the team it made the task easy.

“But it really felt good lifting the trophy.”

Mutombodzi is determined to make success a habit as he looks to win the heart of new Zimbabwe national team coach, Dav Whatmore.

Mutombodzi is looking to add on to the three ODIs under his belt with his last match for Zimbabwe coming way back against India in August 2013 in Bulawayo.

“From here I would want to be as much consistent as I can be with every game that I get to play,” he says.

“With a lot of positive performances under my belt, the main picture will be to make my chance count when I get to be called for the national team again.”

Like a true gentleman, Mutombodzi’s dressing is always on point and rarely do you see him without tucking in his shirt whether on the field of play or when he is relaxing with teammates in the pavilion.

“I’m not married yet and yes I love to be smartly dressed all the time because I believe how you dress, determines how good you feel about yourself,” Mutombodzi says of his fashion sense.

“Away from cricket, I like spending time with friends having a laugh and just relaxing. When I’m alone, I enjoy playing piano in my room for it takes me away from everything.”

His cricket career began at the age of nine at Chengu Primary School in Highfield.

He has represented Zimbabwe at Under-13, 14, 16 level and was part of the Under-19 World Cup squad twice in 2008 in Malaysia and in New Zealand in 2010.

“Most credit goes to my coach Isiah Makiyi who started with me from scratch and I also got help from many different coaches along the way,” he says.

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