BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
HIGHLY-rated Zimbabwe-born cricket sensation Tawanda Muyeye has committed his international allegiance to England after revealing that he has been granted asylum in the UK by the Home Office.
The 20-year-old former Zimbabwe youth international has been riding the crest of a wave after signing a three year contract with English county cricket side Kent in April.
Muyeye’s move to Kent came on the back of a memorable 2019 season for Eastbourne College, which resulted in him being named the Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year for 2020.
The prestigious Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year award is presented by the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, or colloquially the Bible of Cricket — a cricket reference book published annually in the United Kingdom since 1864.
A number of cricketers, who won the award have gone on to do very well at senior international level including England’s World Cup winning players Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler.
There were high hopes locally that Muyeye, who became the first Zimbabwean teenager to win the award, would pledge his international allegiance to the country of his birth.
The former Ruzawi School and Peterhouse Boys pupil, however, ended such hopes after making startling revelations that he is living as a “refugee” in England.
“I’m an asylum seeker,” Muyeye told The Guardian newspaper this week. “My family are refugees, my mum is a refugee, I am a refugee. This is due to the human rights violations in Zimbabwe. For as long as it goes on I will speak up about it. I think it’s very wrong.
“My mum was political; she supported the opposition party [the Movement for Democratic Change]. We had to leave home and come and seek asylum as she felt very threatened and unsafe.
“Luckily England has been really good to us and she has been able to settle down here. To have the freedom and live in a place where you don’t feel threatened, to raise a family here. I’m just so glad she’s safe and we’re all safe.”
Muyeye revealed that he has been granted the right to remain in England indefinitely and has now set his sights on playing Test cricket for his adopted nation.
“It means I’m basically treated as an English citizen and this is home now. I want to play for England. Obviously there is a huge amount to learn before it’s a possibility. But that’s my ambition. I want to play Test cricket for England.”
Although Muyeye’s professional cricket career is still in its early stages, the gifted player is tipped to become one of the world’s best cricketers in the future.
“I genuinely think he could be the best player in the world. He’s box office. Whenever he bats, people will want to watch him,” declared Rob Ferley, his coach at Eastbourne .
Muyeye is a highly-talented, attacking batsman, and a useful off-spinner.
He was born in Zimbabwe, where he represented the country in both cricket and rugby at junior level before moving to the United Kingdom to take up a scholarship at Eastbourne College on the south coast of England.
In 2019, in his first year in the sixth form at Eastbourne, Muyeye scored 1,112 runs with 56 sixes — both records for the 150-year-old school. He also scored two double hundreds, his second coming from only 135 deliveries.
The rising cricket star was named a reserve for Zimbabwe’s 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup squad at the age of 15.