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Is opening batsman Masakadza cursed?

 

This is the question that has been asked several times since the announcement of the final squad for the 2011 International Cricket Council World Cup to be held in the sub-continent next month.

Two consecutive World Cups have passed and the third, to be held in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka next month is also going to elude the 27-year-old. 
His younger brother Shingi, who was just 15 in 2001 when Masakadza was making headlines, is on the verge of beating him to the challenge as he made it in the final team to the next World Cup.

The senior player gave fans a lot of hope on his debut. Many will remember that July 27 2001 afternoon when Zimbabwe was playing West Indies in a first class Test match at Harare Sports Club.

The odds were heavily stacked against the locals and batting at number three, Masakadza, then 17-years-old, trotted onto the field of play full of confidence.

The youngster not only helped his motherland to a draw, but his 119 runs made him the youngest cricketer in the history of the sport to score a century on his debut.

His 167 opening partnership with Vusi Sibanda in the One Day International (ODI) match against West Indies left his name in the national history books.
Masakadza is also the first Zimbabwean to have two ODI scores of more than 150 inside a week when he scored 156 and 178 not out against Kenya in October 2009 at Harare Sports Club.

 

Masakadza’s previous performance

In 2009 Masakadza scored more than 1 087 runs in ODIs. His 102 runs off 112 balls against Bangladesh in 2009 is still fresh in people’s minds.
However, with such an impressive CV, Masakadza holds that unfortunate tag of never having represented his nation at the World Cup.
It is a jinx that Masakadza has failed to break over the years.

The year 2003 — when the World Cup was jointly hosted by Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya — was supposed to be his year, but he missed out owing to school commitments.

Since he had age on his side, many thought the 2007 World Cup in West Indies was going to be his year, but that was not to be as his form dipped.
During the run-up to the 2011 World Cup, as has become the norm, Masakadza became synonymous with ducks leaving the selectors with no choice but to drop him.

With just an average of 19.00, it was not surprising when the head of the national cricket selection panel Alistair Campbell, flanked by head coach Allan Butcher and Lovemore Banda gave journalists an all-familiar list of players heading for the World Cup.

Masakadza’s performance in the 1-3 drubbing at the hands of Bangladesh in the recent ODI did not do him any good as he was clearly the team’s Achilles’ heel.

 

I don’t believe I’m cursed—batsman

Even Alistair Campbell could not hide his disappointment, “He is a very experienced batsman, but his performance in Bangladesh was just pathetic. He is even aware that his recent form was not good enough for him to be included in the final squad. If you can ask him, he will profess to that,” he said.

In Zimbabwe’s three recent series against Ireland, South Africa and Bangladesh, the player managed just 52 runs in seven innings.
But what is really happening to Masakadza? Could he be cursed?
“I really do not know the problem with me,” he said.

“It is very disappointing for me that I have never made it to the World Cup and I may never be involved in that tournament. However, I am trying to cope and support the players that have made the team. I do not believe it is a curse.”

Masakadza’s world has been crumbling for him towards every World Cup. But will he ever break the jinx that has haunted him since 2003 and represent his motherland at the grand stage before he retires?

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