ZIMBABWE cricket selectors are always full of surprises, and this week the trend continued with the selection of Zimbabwe’s 2007 Under-19 World Cup strike bowler Kyle Jarvis to the national side.
Twenty-year-old Jarvis, a student at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, was a surprise selection in the 16-man squad to face Kenya in five ODIs starting next week. The same squad, minus one batsman, will then proceed to Bangladesh on October 20 to face the Tigers in five more one-dayers.
Jarvis’ selection becomes even more remarkable when you consider the fact that he didn’t have first-class experience under his belt prior to getting the national team nod. Yet it’s not an isolated case. Worldwide, selectors always use their discretion to throw in the wild card with quite convincing justification, especially when such a walking opinion as Alistair Campbell is the selectors’ chairman.
The history of Zimbabwe cricket is littered with rookies earning their stripes earlier than expected, and for young Kyle, the son of former Zimbabwe player Malcolm Jarvis –
Yet his chance has come, again, and if one wants to see the positive side, the national Under-19 team is a special team for major cricket playing nations so it is quite refreshing to see recent youth internationals players progressing to the national team.
The Under 19s are the height of development, the culmination of hard work stretching as far aback as the Under 13 level. It is the home of the best young players in the land.
As we speak, Zimbabwe is currently hosting the Pakistan Under 19 team in Harare. This is the first time in many years the country is engaging in youth ODIs against a team from a leading nation.
Below, we pick five current Under 19 players with the most potential.
The lanky 18-year-old is a highly promising legspinner who is well-regarded by his coaches and senior teammates at first-class level. Mutombodzi has already played for Mashonaland Eagles in the Logan Cup and looks well on course to add to the list of Churchill High School graduates to represent Zimbabwe. He made his youth ODI debut in the 2008 Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia.
The captain of the side, Dylon looks even more exciting than his 11-ODI wonder brother Ryan. He is tall and has authoritative presence at the crease. He is a clean hitter of the ball, possessing a technique developed well beyond his 18 years.
The young pace bowler has been the success story of Zimbabwe’s bowling so far with two four-wicket hauls albeit in losing causes. He maintains tight line and length and keeps the batsman thinking.
This “veteran” of Zimbabwean age-group teams is an imposing batsman with a good temperament. “Gaza” learnt most of his cricket at Prince Edward School, where he has been the mainstay of the team for three years. He has already played league cricket for two years.
He comes across as too bulky for a pace bowler — a Heath Streak-model — but Callum generates decent pace and bounce, yet his control and movement in the air are his forte.