Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE CRICKET keeps winning on and off the field.
This time the winner is the local premier cricket league which is showing signs of recovery and growth signified by the growing presence of international stars who have flown in to play in the league.
Seasons past have seen the league being home to international stars such as Ben Curran, Nick Gubbins, William Fraine, Ben Compton and Karabo Motlhanka. The likes of Peter Trego, Ryan ten Doeschate, Andrew Hall, Charlie Shreck, Chris Silverwood, Shaun Tait and Paul Franks have also trooped to Zimbabwe.
Bulawayo side, Tuskers have been home to Moen Ali, Steven Trenchard, Bilal Shafayat, Chris Gayle, Thomas Smith, Paul Horton and Adam Wheater among others.
For this season’s Pro50 Championship, Tuskers have signed two international stars with one of them already hitting the ground running, scoring the team’s first ton of the season.
The Irish pair of Shane Getkate and James McCollum are the new additions to the Tuskers team and the former already has a hundred under his name. The two Irishmen are no strangers to the highest level of the game, having both represented Ireland.
McCollum made his international debut in Tests and ODIs in 2019 and is yet to play the shortest format. His countryman, Getkate first appeared on the international stage in the Oman Quadrangular T20 series in February 2019 and his ODI debut came five months later in July against Zimbabwe.
The 31-year-old South African-born Getkate, who is in Zimbabwe for the first time, told Saturday Chronicle that former Chevrons fast bowler and national talent scout, Kyle Jarvis told him to try his luck with Tuskers.
“Originally it was just James meant to come out and Kyle Jarvis got on to me saying there is an opportunity to come out a couple of days later and I was excited and it’s a good group of lads, a nice bunch of people,” said Getkate.
With Zimbabwe and Ireland having different weather conditions, the batter said his experience in international cricket has helped him to adapt quickly.
“Back home there is a lot of seam movement and a bit of spin, there is more grass in the wickets but I’m lucky enough to have travelled quite a bit, I have been to South Africa and the wickets are pretty similar to here in Zimbabwe,” said Getkate.
Getkate is not dismissing the opportunity to return to Zimbabwe after the completion of the Pro50 Championship season. He wants to come back with the national team in January next year.
“If there is the opportunity to come back maybe for the T20 competition, I’d love to, that will be an exciting opportunity maybe in February or March to come back and then who knows if I get picked with the Irish team there back in January playing three ODIs and three T20s so we will see what happens,” he said.
McCollum, who is also playing in Zimbabwe for the first time, said the experience of playing in the country’s franchise setup has been a good one but the adaptation process has not been a good one as he pulled his hamstring, forcing him to miss Tuskers’ match against Southern Rocks on Sunday.
“It’s been a new experience, I didn’t really know what to expect but it’s been really good so far, my teammates are all nice and luckily, we have been placed in a winning team, we have got four from four.
“I haven’t adapted well because I pulled my hamstring a few days ago so the heat will take a little bit of getting used to,” said McCollum.
Like Getkate, the 27-year-old McCollum is open to returning to play in Zimbabwe’s franchise cricket in the future.
“Definitely, from my experience so far, I have enjoyed it. I’m more of a rebel player back home so I will hopefully try and go out for some rebel games after Christmas and I know the senior team are coming back here in January,” he said.
“We have been looked after very well and the people have been very good to us here, I’m looking forward to the rest of my time out here.”
The pair joined the Bulawayo side last week in their fixtures against Southern Rocks and Getkate played both matches while McCollum missed out on the second match due to injury. In just his second match in Tuskers colours, Getkate has already proven his worth, scoring a magnificent hundred that helped Tuskers complete a double over Rocks.
“There has been a lot of cricket but we have been to a few nice cafés, it’s great to have James with me here from Ireland, we have been doing a bit of study and just chilling, the people here are nice friendly people so it just makes such a difference coming to somewhere new, everyone has been welcoming,” said Getkate.
Article Source: The Chronicle