BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
ON April 21 Zimbabwe cricket team rising star Luke Jongwe made a comeback to the international stage in the first of the Twenty20 International (T20I) series against subcontinent giants Pakistan.
It had been five years since he donned the Zimbabwe colours but Jongwe did not disappoint as he went on to be the highest wicket taker in the three match series with nine.
The all-rounder led the charge as Zimbabwe recorded a historic victory in the second T20I claiming four wickets for 18 runs.
Jongwe was conspicuous by the “phone call” celebration where he took off his shoe and pretended to be making a call each time he took a wicket, especially during his match winning performance.
South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi popularised the celebration two years ago.
While reflecting on his auspicious return to the national team, which also saw him make his Test debut, Jongwe revealed the inspiration behind the unique celebration.
“I came up with the idea for the celebration while I was on a call with my girlfriend Brenda (Jasi).
“We were actually discussing a celebration I would do if I get a wicket the next day in my hotel room so I went with the shoe celebration. I told her each time I get a wicket I would be calling you and I hope I won’t run out of airtime,” he revealed.
Of course, it was inspired by love judging by the way the man ripped through the Pakistan batting line up.
“It felt so good to be back representing my country and doing what I love the most. I can’t believe I was out for almost five years. It felt like it has been just five months
“In terms of my performance, to be honest I wasn’t surprised because the Lord I serve is a living God. And having performances like that, winning a game for your team against an opponent you haven’t beaten in T20s before was amazing and I have God only to thank,” Jongwe said.
Following his exploits against Pakistan, Jongwe now boasts of 16 wickets in 11 T20Is and just one wicket in his solitary Test match.
The 26-year-old all-rounder is looking to complete his comeback next month in the one-day format if he is chosen to play in the upcoming home series against Bangladesh.
He last represented Zimbabwe in ODIs back in January 2016 against Afghanistan and in that version of the game, he has represented the country 22 times, recording 25 wickets in the process.
Jongwe reflected on his Test debut and also spoke about career targets.
“For you to be a complete cricketer you have to play Test cricket and I can’t even describe how I was feeling at that time until the test match was over.
“As for the performance I would have loved to do more to help my team win, but I guess what I did wasn’t enough. I can only take the lessons and make sure next time I get the opportunity I try and get a performance to make the team win,” Jongwe said.
“My short-term target is to establish a permanent position in the national side in all formats as well as win games for my country and be ‘Mr Reliable’ when the team needs someone to help them win a game.
“In the long run I want to be the number one all-rounder in the world. I also want to play in the big T20 leagues, mainly the Indian Premier League. Winning a World Cup for my country is also a priority,” he said.
The talented cricketer also spoke about his sledging battle with Pakistan bowler Hasan Ali in the Test match when he was batting.
“It was the usual cricket banter. I’m a competitor, so is he, we both love to win and compete. It was just a battle, which started when I got him out and he was my first test wicket. I am a guy, who believes in fighting and leaving it all on the field. The moment we cross the rope and the game is over I’m a different person, we leave it all on the field,” he said.
Jongwe is expected to play a key role for the Chevrons when they host Bangladesh next month for one Test, three one-day internationals (ODIs) and three T20I matches.