Saturday, 9 October 2021

MAID TURNED NATIONAL CRICKETER

WHEN she was employed as a housemaid with pressing work commitments that did not afford her time to watch television and follow any of her favourite programmes, including sport, Precious Marange never dreamt she would trade the apron for cricket gear.

After all, she had only become familiar with the game through occasional glances at the television as she went about her household chores.

She, however, fell in love with the sport. The 38-year-old is now an all-rounder for Zimbabwe’s senior women’s cricket team.

At first, she took time to understand the sport every time her employers were not around.

“Working as a maid does not come easy; the demands of the job will only allow you to rest when you are eating or sleeping, and rarely would you get time to watch television and, worst still, to watch your favourite channel,” said Marange.

“When I used to work as a maid, I would peep at the television while I was doing my duties. Coincidentally, the family I worked for used to love watching cricket, so from the peeps, I fell in love with the sport.

“I said to myself this is a sport that is meant for me and I would watch the sport in the absence of my employers, trying to get to know it better.”

Determined to see her dream of playing cricket come true, Marange travelled to Takashinga Cricket Club in Highfield, a place regarded as the home of cricket for most black Zimbabweans.

“I had heard that there was a cricket ground called Takashinga in Highfield, so one off-day I decided that I will walk around the suburb looking for the ground.”

In what could have been a perfect script already written by the gods, Marange fortuitously reached Takashinga at a time when Takashinga Queens were one player short.

“I remember when I got to Takashinga Sports Club on my first day to watch the game, Takashinga Queens were one player short and Yvonne Mangunda, who knew my love for the sport, asked me if I could join.

“It was an offer that I gladly accepted and I was to bat at number 11.”

She impressed with the bat, hitting half-century on her debut.

Very few people knew her name and every time she hit a boundary, the crowd would shout “Boys Dzangu”, a nickname she proudly answers to this day.

“I was a bit nervous when my time to bat came, but as someone who was determined to make a name in the sport, I hit 50 runs in five overs and the crowd, who did not know my name, would shout ‘Boys Dzangu’ every time I hit a boundary.

“Interestingly, I was not offended by the nickname and I still answer to it with pride,” she said.

“After playing my first game, I have never looked back. All I did was to continue adjusting my targets, and having broken the ground, my next target was to play for the national team.”

Marange made her debut for the national team in 2008 during the World Cup qualifiers.

After their failure to qualify for the World Cup, the Lady Chevrons would see themselves mostly playing T20I cricket.

It was not until Tuesday that the Lady Chevrons played their first One-Day International, an experience that Marange felt was surreal.

“I made my first international debut in 2008 but unfortunately we could not qualify and since then we have been playing the T20I.

“Tuesday was an important day in our lives, getting a cap and finally playing an ODI is something we have all waited for.

“The experience of being given a cap was surreal. We literally cried that day.

“Finally playing our ODI last Tuesday was great and everyone was excited about being counted among the ODI playing nations.”

Her international debut in the longer version of the limited overs was to be spiced up by getting the first wicket for Zimbabwe.

“Being capped for the ODI was an important thing in my cricket career, but what made the day more special apart from winning was that I will be remembered as the first Zimbabwean lady cricketer to take a wicket on our debut.

“It is always good to be part of the history books,” she said.

The all-rounder is targeting World Cup qualification with the Lady Chevrons.

“I am continuing to tick the boxes, now my next target is to help Zimbabwe to play at the World Cup.”

Marange, who now works in industry, still has to balance between motherhood, cricket, rugby and work.

“I have had to find a way of balancing my time, as I love all the responsibilities that I have on my plate.

“I work from 7.30am to around 4.30pm during weekdays, then my weekends are reserved for my cricket and rugby practice.

“My nights are reserved for my child, and interestingly she now understands that her mother has a busy schedule.”

Zimbabwe will be hosting the 2023 ODI World Cup qualifiers next month and Marange is now working hard to be part of the squad before she contemplates hanging up the bat.

“Since the day I made my debut, my wish is to play at the World Cup.

“To me, what I am concerned about is my fitness, and not my age. “I can only look back to the journey that I have travelled with a smile and I always tell upcoming players that no matter what the situation you are in, have self-belief, nothing is impossible,” said Marange. Sunday Mail

 

 

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