Mehluli Sibanda in Potchefstroom, South Africa
AFTER Zimbabwe’s 34-run loss to South Africa in the first Twenty20 International cricket match at Buffalo Park in East London last Tuesday, something striking occurred.
One could not help but notice Proteas leg spinner Imran Tahir giving tips to his Chevrons counterpart Brandon Mavuta.
It is rare for sports stars to share their success secrets with the opposition, but Tahir is cut from a different cloth.
The Pakistan-born Tahir had just been named man-of-the-match after picking up five wickets for 23 runs in four overs, to lead his adopted country to victory over Zimbabwe.
Soon after collecting his award, Tahir made his way back to the middle to give some tips on the art of leg spin bowling to a keen Mavuta.
For over 10 minutes, an attentive Mavuta was taken through the skill of leg spin.
Mavuta revealed that that he had requested Chevrons coach Lalchand Rajput to arrange the meeting.
“I had a word with my coach, I’ve always wanted to have a chat with Tahir so that we could teach me more about our art,” said Mavuta.
“I’m quite privileged that he managed to spare some time for me, to share with me what he knows and I am really grateful. I hope that session will play a massive role in my bowling as well.
“I learnt a lot, I think all the questions I had, he managed to give me answers.”
So what was the best advice?
“The greatest thing that he said is that “you will dominate in international cricket if batsmen don’t read you quickly.” I took those words and I am going to work on myself, I believe there is always room for improvement,’’ Mavuta said.
Mavuta has been a revelation on this tour to South Africa as he has played like a veteran yet before coming here, he had just played one international match, a T20I against Australia in July at Harare Sports Club.
Last Tuesday, “Rango” picked up one wicket for 19 runs in four overs at a brilliant economy rate of 4,75 per over.
The wicket he got on the night was no ordinary one as he outfoxed South African skipper Faf du Plessis, Tendai Chisoro with the catch at deep cover.
Not only did Mavuta get rid of the South African skipper but he got him with the first ball he bowled.
Mavuta went on to show his all-round ability with a brave 28 off 14 in a 53 run fourth wicket partnership with Peter Moor, with the youngsters bringing Zimbabwe closer in the run chase.
The former Under-19 captain is working as hard on his bowling as he is doing with his batting with his dream being to become one of the best all-rounders in the international game.