Howzat! Cricket future looks bright

HARARE - A veteran of 70 ODIs and four Test matches, as well as a vast amount of first class and list A cricket, not forgetting his successful stint as head coach of the Mountaineers, Gary Brent has become the latest former player to invest time in the future, with the grand opening of his new project, the Howzat Cricket Academy.

Situated in the tranquil surroundings of Borrowdale Brooke, this newly-established academy is the perfect setting for youngsters to brush up on their skills.

“It’s much more than just a cricket academy,” Brent explains.

“We are also very focused on teaching the kids a lot more than just batting, bowling and fielding.

“We want to instil some of the stuff that has sadly fallen away, like looking each other in the eye when talking, and shaking hands both before and after a match.”

The academy started in March this year, and has slowly gained momentum through word of mouth, and although the participation is still low, there is a tangible feeling of excitement when entering the facility, which hosts indoor nets as well.

Brent, whose partner is the current national team fitness trainer Sean Bell, is as enthusiastic and excited about the project as Brent.

“You see the excitement on the kid’s (sic) faces, and you see the intensity they play their mini games with, and it gives you such satisfaction, and a reason to continue with the hard work,” says Bell.

Bell’s energy is infectious, and he also speaks very highly of some of the younger players in the national team.

“Luke Jongwe and Wellington Masakadza are fit and very positive guys to work with,” he says.

“Not only are they super fit, but their willingness to learn and play is also very pleasing.

“They have a youthful exuberance about them — confident, but most definitely not arrogant, which is what you need if you want to progress as a player.”

“Our basis is the Grade One to Grade Six children,” explains Brent, though they do also accommodate players who are about to leave school as well.

They also have two first class players who train with the youngsters, which adds nicely to the children.

When asked if he would ever consider taking up the position of bowling coach of the national team, Brent answered in his usual modest way, saying:

“It would obviously be an honour to be part of the coaching team, but I am very happy with what I am doing at the moment, but one should never say never.”

The academy is relatively unknown up to this point, but there is absolutely no doubting that any young and aspiring cricketer would be well looked after, should his parents ever decide to enrol him there.

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