Stanbic Stragglers tourney kicks off

HARARE - The annual Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe-sponsored grassroots cricket development programme, Stragglers Junior Cricket week, kicks off today until next Friday at Hartmann House and St. George’s College in Harare.

The week-long cricket event will see budding cricketers between ages of nine and 12 from across the socio-economic spectrum of society mix and mingle in a fun-filled cricket extravaganza.

Stragglers is held annually during the August school holiday and Stanbic Bank has been sponsoring the event since 2006 as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) thrust aimed at ploughing back into the Zimbabwean community.

Stanbic Bank’s head of marketing and corporate affairs Palmer Mugavha said the bank placed great emphasis on supporting young people and the Stragglers Junior Cricket week was one of the best platforms to ensure that the financial services institution contributes towards talent development in young children.

“Our CSR Strategy is well thought out and it spans across sports, health, education, environment and sanitation,’’ Mugavha said.

“Stragglers Cricket week is at the heart of our CSR activities as it touches on both sports but in particular helping the young boys and girls relax after an exhausting school term.”

Children from less privileged backgrounds will get the opportunity to showcase their talents against those from the elite schools during this popular week-long Cricket Week.

Teams from cricket development areas are included on a rotational basis to give as many children as possible an opportunity to play during the holiday and have some fine tuning of their skills through coaching.

The development sides will include young cricket players from Mabvuku, Highfield, Glen View, Shamva, Bindura and Chitungwiza.

The Stragglers Junior Cricket week will see over 300 children from all walks of life playing limited overs cricket as well as getting a chance to receive cricketing tips from players in the Zimbabwe national cricket team.

“We also attach great importance to Stragglers Junior Cricket because we believe in nurturing cricketing talent at a young age,” Mugavha said.

“We know that over the years some of the country’s leading cricket players participated at Stragglers when they were young and we want to keep the trend going.”

The Grade 4 and 5 cricketers play in the morning and Grade 6 and 7 pupils play in the afternoon.

The players are placed into teams named after cricketing countries such as Zimbabwe, West Indies, India, England, Australia, and Sri Lanka to name a few.

Each country challenges a different country everyday during the week in limited overs matches.

All cricketers are rotated and every player has a chance to bat and bowl. Certificates are awarded to high achieving cricketers.

Mugavha said the importance of Stragglers Cricket week in junior cricket development cannot be overlooked because Zimbabwe national team wicket keeper and batsman PJ Moor, Opener Hamilton Masakadza, Middle order batsman Craig Ervine and former captain and all-rounder Elton Chigumbura are all products of Stragglers junior development.

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