Stragglers tourney excites Tinker

HARARE - Veteran former Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) development coach Ian Tinker is excited by the talent being exhibited at the ongoing annual Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe-sponsored grassroots cricket development programme, Stragglers Junior Cricket.

Over 300 children between the ages of nine and 12 from across the country are playing limited overs cricket at the week-long event at Hartmann House and St. George’s College in Harare.

Speaking on the sidelines of the tournament yesterday, Tinker said there is a lot of talent and a lot should be done to nature the young cricketers.

“This programme has gone for over 50 years and it has been credibly awesome. I have been a straggler for the past 40 years or so, it’s a wonderful way to start cricket, you meet people from different walks of life,” the former Zimbabwe Under-19 coach said.

“We have got some incredible talent, cricket talent from all walks of life here. We have got from the high density, we have got from upper class schools; we have got talent all across the board.”

Tinker also paid tribute to  Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe, who have been sponsoring the tournament since 2006, for their continued support for grassroots cricket.

“We could be doing more for these kids at this stage. We have got sponsors like Stanbic who have been great for us for a long time,” he said.

“There is wonderful talent and I seriously believe we have to start nurturing them from this age. We have to start looking at these youngsters and do something special for them to keep cricket going in this country in the future.”

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

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 include young cricket players from Mabvuku, Highfield, Glen View, Shamva, Bindura and Chitungwiza.

The Stragglers Junior Cricket sees over 300 children playing limited overs cricket as well as getting a chance to receive cricketing tips from players in the Zimbabwe national cricket team.

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