By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE national cricket team captain Hamilton Masakadza has announced that he will retire from all forms of international cricket after the conclusion of the Twenty20 International tri-series involving Bangladesh and Afghanistan between September 13 to 24.
The 36 year-old opening batsman has been an integral member of the national team since becoming the first black Zimbabwe player to score a Test century on his debut in 2001 against West Indies.
Masakadza’s historic feat saw him becoming the then youngest player to score a Test hundred on debut, a record that has since been broken by Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful.
“After a great deal of consideration I have decided to announce my retirement from all forms of international cricket at the end of the upcoming triangular series in Bangladesh,” Masakadza told reporters at a Press conference in Harare.
“It has been an enormous privilege to have played for and captained the country and this is one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. I still can’t believe it has been 18 years since I played my first international match for Zimbabwe, scoring 119 runs against West Indies in Harare in the process becoming the youngest player in the world to score a century on debut at the age of 17 and 354 days.”
Since his debut 18 years ago, Masakadza represented Zimbabwe in 38 Tests, 209 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 62 T20Is, scoring 10 hundreds and 42 half-centuries across all formats.
His highest score in international cricket is his unbeaten 178 against Kenya in 2009. Masakadza is fourth on Zimbabwe’s ODI and Test run-getters lists.
Masakadza said he was delighted to have represented the country with honour throughout his career.
“Throughout my international career it has always been about giving everything to the team, playing with dignity and upholding the spirit of the game. It has not been an easy road. I failed at times but I never stopped trying, That’s what makes it sad for me to leave but I can now do so with pride and a smile of my face knowing I’ve given everything to the game and my nation.”
Masakadza becomes the second Zimbabwe player – after Solomon Mire – to announce his retirement since the country’s suspension by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in July which cost the country its place at the upcoming T20 World Cup qualifiers.
He said he was confident that the new generation of young players would help the country qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
“I was looking forward to the ICC T20 World Cup qualifier in Dubai next month but with Zimbabwe barred from taking part in the event, I think the time is right for the focus to shift to the next generation,” he said.
“We have some fantastic talent coming through and with Zimbabwe’s focus now on the 2023 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup, now is the time to focus on the younger guys to rise to the challenge of taking us to the global showpiece.”