Zim speedster, Blessing Muzarabani savours IPL ‘backstage’ gig
…Exclusive interview with Zimbabwe’s leading pace bowler
…Speaks of relationship with Andy Flower
Playing an obscure role in the Indian Premier League (IPL) does not worry Zimbabwean pace bowler, Blessing Muzarabani.
He is in elite company and savouring each moment.
His IPL debut was greeted with much enthusiasm from Zimbabwean cricket lovers. Muzarabani is only the fourth Zimbabwean to take part in the most prestigious cricket league in the world after Tatenda Taibu, Ray Price and Brendan Taylor.
The 25-year-old paceman who is one of leading talents in Zimbabwean cricket was drafted by the Andy Flower, coached Lucknow Super Giants as a net bowler at the start of the season.
Sweating it off daily in the nets, bowling to the world’s best like Indian vice-captain KL Rahul and South Africa’s Quinton de Cock, Muzarabani believes he is contributing positively to Lucknow success in IPL.
Lucknow is fourth in the IPL, a position that makes them a favourite to at least reach the final.
“It has been good being here. The team is so welcoming. I am really enjoying my time here. In IPL there are a lot of big names who are enjoy bowling to. I enjoy bowling to KL Rahul, he is one of the top batsmen in the world. There are also the like of Quinto De Cock and lot of big names,” Muzarabani told The NewsReport in an exclusive interview.
Before joining the IPL, Muzarabani played franchise cricket for the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). He spent two seasons with Multan, winning the 2021 PSL title with the Pakistani franchise club.
Despite making the IPL auction shortlist, Muzarabani failed to find suitors along with big names like Australian pair of Aaron Finch and Steve Smith.
Having impressed former Zimbabwe captain, Flower in Pakistan, Muzarabani would find himself in IPL, albeit as net bowler.
“I was happy when Andy Flower for giving me the opportunity. It is always good to be in that environment and play with big players in the world. It is good to work with a Zimbabwean coach. Andy like the way I played against Pakistan and then he gave me the opportunity to play in the PSL. I played two seasons. Obviously, he liked, and he gave me the opportunity to come and train Lucknow. We are cool, and he is a good coach. He is always supportive and pushing,” the lanky paceman said.
Muzarabani comes into the IPL on the back of good bowling statistics, since his debut in 2017. He has over 80 wickets in international cricket.
In 2018, he put his international career on hold, electing to play County Cricket for Northamptonshire. He was released in 2020, making him eligible to for national team selection.
It was a good gamble for the 25-year-old cricketer whose career has hit dizzy heights.
“My experience will help a lot of youngsters. What I am learning is what I will give. I will keep learning so that when I go home, I can assist others.”
Despite rising through the ranks to become one of Zimbabwe’s brightest prospects, Muzarabani desired to represent his country at the World Cup.
“The biggest thing I would want to achieve is going to the World Cup and create that environment of winning games. That is the goal really, we just need to keep working hard,” he said.
Muzarabani was only 21 when Zimbabwe failed to Qualify for the World Cup back in 2018. During the qualifiers in Harare, he claimed the priced scalp of Chris Gayle in front of a wild crowd at Harare Sports Club, but his efforts only went as far as giving Zimbabwe hope, which would be crushed in the final match against the United Arab Emirates.
He decided to join County Cricket soon after the World Cup qualifier heartbreak.
But until he makes the IPL squad next season and qualify for the next World Cup Muzarabani will continue giving his very best in the nets.