Blessing Muzarabani, the 21-year-old Zimbabwean fast-bowler, has announced his decision to take a break from international cricket.
His motivations haven’t been made explicit, but it seems likely that the young paceman wants to focus his attentions on a career in the English county system.
He said in an official statement: “I wish my former teammates and Zimbabwe Cricket all the very best for the future. I have been honoured to represent my country but feel this is an appropriate time for me to pursue other challenges both personally and professionally.”
This decision will provide further pain for Zimbabwe’s cricket board, which has been beset by problems – mainly financial – in recent months.
Muzarabani made his Test debut for Zimbabwe last December against South Africa, in the Boxing Day Test in Port Elizabeth. Although he didn’t get any wickets, and Zimbabwe lost by an innings and 129 runs, he remains an exciting prospect. Already with 27 international wickets to his name, Muzarabani’s height, youth and relative pace had announced him as a future titan in Zimbabwean cricket.
In May, it was reported that the Zimbabwe team threatened to put the triangular series between Zimbabwe, Australia and Pakistan in “serious jeopardy” if they were not reassured of their salary payment.
The payments were only made when the ICC allocated a special emergency fund to Zimbabwe Cricket to facilitate the payment of their players.
But Muzarabani will no longer have to worry about the financial ill-health of his home nation’s cricketing board. He has spent the last summer looking for a long-term contract in the English county game, managing a few games for both the Northamptonshire and Derbyshire 2nd XIs. It has been rumoured that he is soon to sign a contract with Northants, where David Ripley and his coaching team will look to hone the young man’s raw pace and turn him into a 1st XI regular.