JB resurfaces at Rising Stars

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe Test bowler Njabulo “JB” Ncube has resurfaced at Rising Stars where he is a player-coach and hopes to revive his international career.

A one-match wonderer in both Test and One Day International cricket, the Bulawayo-born had a debut to remember taking three wickets in Zimbabwe’s historic one-wicket win over New Zealand in the third ODI in October 2011.

He was involved in the first four New Zealand wickets including a runout of opener BJ Watling for a duck before going on to claim three early wickets of Rob Nicol (14) who was caught by Vusi Sibanda and Brendon McCullum (18), caught behind by wicketkeeper Foster Mutizwa.

Ncube also claimed the big scalp of former Black Caps captain Ross Taylor, who he bowled out for 119 runs as New Zealand reached 328/5 in 50 overs.

Each wicket was greeted with a distinct soccer-style celebration as he would run almost half the length of the field and ending with a super dive on the turf.

“A couple of our seam bowlers got injured before the series and I was enjoying a good form in the domestic cricket which prompted my name to be thrown up in the hat leading to my ODI debut — I will forever be grateful for this opportunity,” Ncube told the Daily News in an interview.

The following month Ncube was also selected for the Test squad against the same opposition where he claimed his only Test wicket of Taylor who was caught behind by wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva for 76 runs in the first innings.

The Black Caps won that match by 34 runs. That was the last we heard of the 28-year-old seamer as far as his international career is concerned but he remains confident that he still has what it takes to bounce back in the national team.

After stints in South Africa as both coach and player he is now back in the country where he is also doubling up as a player coach for Rising Stars.

In his first Logan Cup match in the Rising Stars colours, — a massive 193-run hiding at the hands of champions Mountaineers at Harare Sports Club last week, Ncube exited the match with a single wicket inside the two innings.

“I have always been around in the game. I was in South Africa where I attained a few coaching badges and also advanced my playing career playing competitive cricket there,” Ncube told the Daily News.

“When I came back I approached coach Stuey (Stuart Matsikenyeri) if I could help out with some odd coaching duties as well as playing with the guys.

“There’s a lot of young talent coming through this side especially in the pace department but I back my knowledge and experience to stand out not only for myself but towards the team’s success as well.

“I still have what it takes to play for the national team and I haven’t really been in touch with the head coach because I believe you don’t necessarily need to talk to the coach to be noticed, statistics and the hard work will speak for themselves so you will be seeing more of those celebrations in God’s appointed time.”

Today, Rising Stars take on Ncube’s former side Tuskers in a Logan Cup match at Harare Sports Club while defending champions and log leaders Mountaineers play against Mashonaland Eagles at Takashinga Sports Club in Highfield, Harare.

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