Senior Sports Reporter
THE retirement of Elton Chigumbura, and the emergence of new talent in the Zimbabwe cricket team, are probably the major take-aways from the recent tour of Pakistan.
Zimbabwe lost both the One Day International and T20 International series.
The gulf between the two sides was always on display as Pakistan wrapped up the ODI series 2-1 before romping to a 3-0 whitewash in the T20I series.
Former captain Chigumbura, who has been a member of the Chevrons side for the past 16 years, announced he was stepping down at the conclusion of the series.
This marked the end of a long career that started off on a high until recently when he suffered recurrent injuries and a dip in form.
Chigumbura, who first shot into prominence during the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2004 in Bangladesh, when he starred with the ball in a surprise victory over Australia, established himself in the senior team soon after.
He made his debut in a home ODI series against Sri Lanka the same year.
He was a product of Zimbabwe Cricket’s development programme, together with the likes of Tatenda Taibu, Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya and Vusi Sibanda.
In his heyday, the 34-year-old was known for his hard hitting style of play and was also effective with the ball.
Chigumbura was generally more effective in the limited overs game.
He played 14 tests for Zimbabwe and scored 569 runs at an average of 21.07.
He had no Test century to his name in his long career and had four fifties from 22 innings.
The right hander took 21 Test wickets at an economy rate of 3.20.
Chigumbura played some memorable innings in his ODI career and had 213 games under the belt.
However, he had problems converting into big scores.
He contributed 4 340 runs and had two tons to his name in over 200 appearances at an average of 25.23.
He also had 101 wickets to his ODI resume at an economy of 5.91.
Chigumbura played 57 T20Is and scored 893 runs.
He had three 50s to his name at an average of 19.
In those T20I outings, he also took 16 wickets at an economy rate of 9.21.
“Today, I take my hat off to say my goodbyes to international cricket with a smile on my face as I thank the Lord for his blessings, throughout my career, and I thank my family and friends for the support, and guidance, they gave me to be who I am today.
“To all the coaches, and support staff who helped me along the way, thank you so much, to the fans, thank you for the support you gave me every time I crossed the rope.
“Lastly, to cricket, you have been a game-changer to my life from where I started to where I am today # a ticket out of poverty.
“Goodbye! Am out cheers,” said Chigumbura on his social media pages.
The recent series in Pakistan also showed that Zimbabwe need new blood going forward.
The future showcased itself in fast bowler, Blessing Muzarabani, and all-round sensation, Wesley Madhevere, who were among the top performers in both series.
Former Zimbabwe Under-19 star Milton Shumba also made his T20I debut in the third game.
Muzarabani was the hero in the ODI series which earned Zimbabwe 10 points in the ICC World Cup Super League.
Madhevere was Zimbabwe’s third highest run scorer with 98 to his name.
Veteran Brendan Taylor was top of the charts with 204 runs, followed by Sean Williams’ 197.
Madhevere scored the most runs for Zimbabwe in the T20I series after amassing 103 in three innings.