Gone too soon
12 years later, Zim remembers Trevor Madondo
Windhoek – June 11, 2013 marks the 12th year since the death of Trevor Madondo, the first black to play Test cricket for Zimbabwe.
Madondo broke into the Zimbabwe cricket team in 1997 at a time the sport was almost exclusively white-dominated.
Tragically, he was to pass away at the young age of 24 before realising his full potential.
Known by his teammates as “Baby Chingokes”, Madondo succumbed to cerebral malaria after having shown much promise.
A right-hand batsman and a wicketkeeper, he made his debut against Pakistan in 1997 and went on to play in three Tests and 13 One-Day Internationals.
He had a best Test score of 74 (against Pakistan) and opened the door for other black batsmen, such as Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu, Vusimuzi Sibanda and Stewart Matsikenyeri, to prove that blacks could play the game as well.
Madondo’s best ODI score was 71.
Not a smasher of the ball in the mould of Pakistan’s blistering Shahid Afridi or West Indies’ Chris Gayle, Madondo was adept at patiently building up a score and laying a foundation for the team.
Madondo represented the Partridges, the national primary schools cricket team and in 1989 was called up to the Mashonaland Country Districts Primary Schools Select Team that toured England.
For high school, he went to Falcon College, which is known for both its academic standards and sporting prowess.
Madondo was picked as wicketkeeper for the Fawns, the national Under-15 team, and he went on the tour to Namibia in 1992, while also representing Zimbabwe Schools for two years.
Madondo made his first class debut while still in school when he was called up to the Matabeleland team that faced touring English county side Glamorgan.
By then he was already playing club cricket for Old Miltonians, consistently making 30s and 40s but often failing to convert these into bigger scores.
After completing school in 1995, Madondo went to study Commerce at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa and while there he played for the varsity team – making a highest score of 77 with the bat.
Though his university commitments prevented him from playing regularly for Matabeleland in Zimbabwe’s Logan Cup, he was an almost permanent fixture in the Zimbabwe Board XI.
In 1999, he opened against the legendary Australian team of the Waugh brothers, Glen Magrath and company, top-scoring for Zimbabwe with 30 in Harare.
Much was expected of him, but fate decreed otherwise.