'Grassroots crucial for cricket growth'

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe needs to take up cricket development at grassroots level for the game to reclaim its lost glory Heath Streak International Academy (HSIA) chief executive officer Joseph Rego has said.

The country had a robust development programme in the past which saw the rise of the likes of Tatenda Taibu, Hamilton Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura and Stuart Matsikenyeri.

However, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) was forced to abandon their development projects due to cash flow problems.

Speaking at the launch of the HSIA at Sunrise Sports Club in Harare on Tuesday evening, Rego said their objective is to groom young players to be international cricketers in the near future.

The initiative is similar to the renowned Old Mutual Heath Streak Cricket Academy established in Bulawayo in 2012 by the former Zimbabwe cricket captain and current national team coach Heath Streak and his Indian partner Rego.

“Heath Streak International would identify, nurture and groom young cricket talent ripe for the international stage, five years from now,” Rego said.

“We are very passionate about the sport and our aim is to ensure that our talented cricketers have the very best opportunities and first class futures which will help Zimbabwe regain her past sporting glory.”

Rego further noted that the academy will soon unveil their flagship brand ‘‘My Vision, My Dream’’ in Harare.

“The initiative is a popular community development sports project which looks set to revolutionise the development of the sport through helping and transforming the lives of hundreds of talented kids hailing from underprivileged backgrounds who have no access to sports facilities and equipment,” he said.

Rego also said the initiative will identify talent of the highest level and nominate players to attend provincial age-group trials relevant to ability and potential.

“The initiative will encourage aspiring young cricketers to develop their skills and ensure coaching sessions are held within a progressive and fun-filled environment in the true spirit of the game,” he said.

Rego said part of their mission was to inspire and motivate girls to get involved in playing cricket and engage in outreach programmes to support young talented girls to train and coach at the Academy.

But above all, he said he was confident that in three to five years the country’s cricket will benefit from the immense talent and potential that the initiative will have nurtured from the tender age.

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