MOUNTAINEERS Team of the Week: Tino Mawoyo - two out of three trophies would be great

As part of our ongoing Team of the Week feature, we are concentrating on Zimbabwean franchise the Mountaineers this week. Here we speak in depth to their captain Tino Mawoyo, the 27-year-old Test opening batsman who scored a second-innings half-century in last month’s famous victory over Pakistan to secure a 1-1 drawn series.

There is uncertainty about the start of the domestic season in Zimbabwe. Does this concern you and your players?

“I have managed to speak to several of the squad players from last season, and they are all looking forward to the start of the season.

“I also met with the coach Gary Brent a couple of weeks ago, and we discussed what we felt was the way forward for the upcoming season as well as which areas we can improve on from last season.

“The season will definitely go on. The only question is when it will start.”

As captain of the Mountaineers, were you happy with the season having won the Twenty20 and nearly the four-day Logan Cup too?

“I was delighted that we managed to retain the domestic T20 title, but to finish second in the first-class competition and third in the limited overs format was rather disappointing for me.

A club game Tino is involved in is played out at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday

“We have a very well balanced side, and I feel that we should have won the Logan Cup as well. However, on the whole, it was a satisfying season and a platform from which we can build.”

Looking ahead, I presume you will want to be challenging in all competitions - can you win them all?

“That is always the aim at the beginning of any season - to win as much silverware as possible. But three trophies out of three is an almost flawless season.

“Realistically, if we can win two of the three trophies on offer this season, including the Logan Cup, I will be happy with the lads.”

You as a player - eight Tests and four ODIs - you’ll be hoping to be play a lot more. What areas of your game are you working on - where can you improve?

“I relish the opportunities I have had to represent my country, and certainly hope to play many more games. I feel I’m starting to find my feet in Test cricket, and I want to work hard to cement my place in the Test side.

“Once I have achieved that, I want to work my way into the one-day side. I’m constantly working to try and evolve my one-day game, and am confident that with continued hard work I will be able to break into the squad.

“My fitness is another area I’m working on. I had groin surgery in South Africa in May, and I’m striving to get myself back to full fitness.”

The century against Pakistan in Bulawayo when you carried your bat for 163 in only your second Test in September of 2011 must be a career highlight. What did that mean to you?

“That’s my highest Test score to date, and it took me a few days to realise the magnitude of what I had achieved - probably because the game still had three days to go.

“It was extremely encouraging and satisfying to play such an innings in only my second Test against quality bowlers like Junaid Khan and Saeed Ajmal. I think that actually surpassed my boyhood dreams to an extent, but nothing beats the confidence and self belief you gain after such a performance.”

What do Zimbabwe need to do to strengthen their domestic game?

“Club cricket in the franchises is an important stepping stone to franchise cricket. We need to ensure that we have club cricket running in each of the franchises and getting the young school boys involved to give them exposure.

“It would be good to get the franchise ‘B’ league running again so those who perform in the club league can be elevated to the franchise ‘B’ team and subsequently the main franchise team. This creates competition amongst the players and reward for those who have excelled.

“Naturally, our domestic cricket will then be more competitive, and this translates into our under 19s, Zimbabwe ‘A’ team and the national team itself.”

The international side seems to be improving - what are the challenges there?

Tino is bottom left on the Zimbabwe team shot ahead of their Test match against New Zealand in Napier in January, 2012

“The biggest challenge for me personally is that we are not consistently playing international cricket. At times we can go a good eight months without an international fixture, and it can be extremely difficult to get back into the game and be where you were when you last played.

“After a tour of the Caribbean early in the year, we have had a full winter playing the game, hosting Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, and we have shown what we can do with consistent matches as a team with a very encouraging series that recently ended against Pakistan.

“If you look at our results over the last three years, they reflect a team that competes and often wins when playing at home, but not quite the same results are evident when we play away. Exposure and more tours to other countries are paramount if we are to continue improving, especially in Test cricket.”

Kyle Jarvis recently retired from the international side to move to Lancashire, and other good players have gone elsewhere too. Is that a frustration, can you understand why, does it cross your mind that others might do the same and would you ever do that?

“Kyle was the spearhead of our bowling attack, particularly in the Test matches. To say it’s frustrating that he’s gone would be rather selfish I think. He’s worked hard on his game, and has put in some quality performances at international level. Now he’s reaping the rewards of his hard work.

“What is encouraging for me is that we have shown that we have the depth in our relatively small pool of players even with Kyle’s absence. Tendai Chatara, Tinashe Panyangara, Brian Vitori and Shingirai Masakadza (two of those are Mountaineers by the way) all stepped up to the plate and proved their worth in the series against Pakistan.

“And as for me leaving, it’s not crossed my mind. As I mentioned earlier, my main aim right now is to get myself into the one-day team. That’s what I’m focusing on.”

Finally, what would you like to achieve with the Mountaineers and Zimbabwe over the next two or three years. What are realistic goals?

“I would like to lead Mountaineers to a Logan Cup and limited overs competition title. They are both trophies we are definitely capable of winning, and I believe we can do so in the next two years.

“I would also like to build a team that is revered for its professionalism, team spirit, respect for the game and obviously results on the field.

“In national colours, we’ve achieved one Test series victory since returning to the Test arena in 2011. A home series win and an away series win are both something we can achieve but only with continued hard work and sacrifice. Our performances in the last two 50-over World Cups (2007 in the Caribbean and 2011 in Asia) have been well short of our best.

“If we can get through the group stages in the 2015 World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, it will be a massive improvement on years gone by.”

PHOTOS: All photos have been kindly provided by Tino Mawoyo.

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

5 thoughts on “MOUNTAINEERS Team of the Week: Tino Mawoyo - two out of three trophies would be great

  1. Nice to see someone is paying attention to Zim’s FC cricket! In fact Provincial FC cricket, and Franchise List A is underway down here in SA but nothing was really reported ahead of that by a very vast media that was busying itself with complaints about quotas(which are by the way overdue, understated and they’re outrageously incentivised to implement), so kudos to you guys.

    First of all I’m highly disappointed that my beloved Tuskers from the City of Kings, are not being profiled anywhere, or first here - undisputed champions of the Logan Cup overthe last few years, dethroners of the old firm after Zim cricket was subjected to decades of “unfair” dominance by a hybrid Mashonaland of course. What’s so interesting about the mountainside anyway?

    Over to Tino, it’s good that he sees himself as useful to our ODI side. To do that he needs to improve against the short ball though, anything that’s slightly uncomfortable but legal bounce he virtually doesn’t play at it. 50 overs is a long time and we could use a fulcrum for our batting order and he’s suitable because of his temperament and efficiency once he unshackles. He hasn’t been given a fair run and would’ve improved our prospects when India toured. Admittedly I was off in my assessment of his batting initially but he proved me wrong, which I’m proud of. As captain, if he retains the same squad(easily the best attack - Chatara, Shingi, Tiripano, Maruma&Mushangwe plus young Calum Price occasionally) but fails to win the Logan Cup, then he can forget about being an option of captaining the national side!

    I’ve always thought he and recently retired Terry Duffin could play together as openers. Shockingly some found that a bad idea! Anyway, Tino is now pretty much the only only specialist Zimbabwean opener of note in FC cricket(Vusi should rightly drop down the order, while Chari like Kasuza,Mbofana&Raza will eventually hide down the order after finding the going tough). The reason why Duffin retired prematurely was lack of funds to cater for his needs(which it seems are rather above the rest of our local FC players with responsibilities as well). Nonetheless general lack of funds is precisely why a Franchise B League must not be a priority ahead of Club leagues attached to each franchise - if scarce funds do become available at any point.

    If I must raise a pertinent concern, then the fact that you see positives in Jarvis leaving, and that you haven’t thought about abandoning Zimbabwe cricket “yet” should in itself be raising questions about your role as captain of the Goats. What example is it setting to young Chatara,Mushangwe&Sauramba who are better prospects as future exports!?

    I’m still struggling to understand why Sean Williams - a fickle, indecisive person/player, who was brought back from obscurity under a lot of uncertainty on a pay-as-you-play contract last season - was chosen to captain my beloved Matabeleland. Ahead of such stalwarts as Keith Dabengwa, Chris Mpofu and even the brawler Keegan Meth! If Wayne James made the decision then the wrong coach was obviously hired! That Staddon CEO must be fired with immediate effect, especially if he makes the grave mistake of rehiring Glen “the chucker” Querl again!

    Anyway, under these trying times, we look forward to another wonderful instalment of domestic cricket in Zimbabwe courtesy of ZC. Odds are heavily stacked against them, it’s hard going, but somehow they always manage to pull things off.

  2. Don’t get me started on Sean Williams the boy will leave Zimbabwe cricket for the 10th time at some point this season and then return a few months later, i have concerns about the future of Keegan Meth as it seems that he has moved to Canada and with Charles Coventry and Gavin Ewing retiring for FC cricket the Tuskers squad will be short of quality this year.

    Odds will always be against Zimbabwe but the players are natural fighters, it is very disappointing to see the state of the domestic game particulary as it looked like ZC had turned it around a couple of years ago.

    Great article though, please keep them coming!!

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