Chigumbura seals return from the cold
Harare – It has been an incredible year for Elton Chigumbura and, after being handed the captaincy of the Zimbabwe limited-overs team, playing the leading role in his country’s first win over Australia in 31 years, he is now heading to India to play in the Champions League.
Three years ago, the all-rounder was forced to quit his post as Zimbabwe skipper after a poor 2011 Cricket World Cup and questions over his form, which plunged alarmingly, with some even suggesting that his international career was as good as over.
But Chigumbura was handed a new lease of life when Zimbabwe Cricket split the captaincy with the all-rounder being given the role to lead the ODI and Twenty20 teams, which means he will be the captain at the Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year, while Brendan Taylor was kept as the Test team skipper.
He has responded well and was the outstanding batsman as he led his team to a sensational win over the then world number one ranked Australia, in an ODI Tri-Series match at Harare Sports Club, which made headlines around the world.
Chigumbura’s super half century, under pressure, won him the man-of-the-match award, in one of Zimbabwe sport’s finest moments, as the Aussies were humbled in a three-wicket defeat at Harare Sports Club.
“The guys have worked really hard for this and the pleasing thing was that everybody contributed,” Chigumbura said after the famous win.
Now, the 28-year-old is set for the Champions League, in India, where he will rub shoulders with some of the best players in the short format of world cricket later this month.
The Champions League starts on Sunday to October 4 and Chigumbura will play for the Barbados Trident who booked their place in the tournament after winning the Caribbean Premier League this year.
Southern Express, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lahore Lions, Mumbai Indians, Northern Districts, Perth Scorchers, Kings XI Punjab, Cape Cobras, Chennai Super Kings, Dolphins and Hobart Hurricanes are some of the teams that will battle in the sixth edition of the Champions League this year.
Chigumbura has always been considered part of a crop of the best limited overs players in the world, his hard-hitting style and his ability to also bowl decently, suits the shorter formats of the game like Twenty20 and 50-overs cricket.
Another all-rounder Rayad Emrit is expected to lead the Barbados Tridents in the Champions League and said Chigumbura was part of a crew of players who will help his team.
The Tridents will be without Kieron Pollard, the hard-hitting West Indies star, who was part of the team that helped them win the Caribbean Premier League, who will play for his Indian franchise, Mumbai Indians, while Dwayne Smith will play for the Super Kings and Shoaib Malik for the Hurricane.
But Emrit feels they will have good replacements.
“They are three important guys who are not playing with us,” Emrit told the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
“But, having said that, it’s a good opportunity for the local guys to step up and show what they are worth in an international arena.
“We have three good replacements — (James) Franklyn, (Elton) Chigumbura and (Dilshan) Munaweera. Those guys have international experience so, hopefully, they can bring what they have learnt in an international stage and to our team as well.”
The Tridents are in Group B that also features the Hurricanes, Kings XI Punjab of India and Cape Cobras of South Africa.
Chigumbura has also played in the Bangladeshi Premier League and is used to the conditions in the Asian sub-continent while in March 2010 he joined English county side, Northamptonshire, as their overseas player.