THE annual Stragglers Cricket Festival got underway yesterday with over 200 boys, aged between 9 to 12 years, set to enjoy five days of non-stop cricket.
The festival is the product of a partnership between Stragglers Cricket Club and leading financial services institution, Stanbic Bank.
The week-long cricket showcase has a multi-pronged purpose of ensuring that the young boys take time to blow off some steam, after a demanding second term of school, while sharpening their cricketing skills under the watchful eye of some of Zimbabwe’s finest cricket talents. The Bank has been sponsoring Stragglers Cricket Festival since 2006 as part of its commitment to contribute to the well being of the communities in which it operates.
Head of Marketing and Communications at Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe, Palmer Mugavha, said the institution’s marriage with Stragglers Cricket Festival was rewarding in a number of years.
He said it was a source of encouragement to see the energy and commitment the young cricketers bring to the table. “Every year we are encouraged to continue providing this learning platform for young cricket hopefuls.
‘’Stragglers is also a motivational tool and confidence booster especially for the boys who participate from the development sides like Bindura and Shamva” said Mugavha.
During the festival, boys from high density areas and elite schools mix and mingle, playing limited overs cricket and they get tips from some of the top cricket coaches and selected members of the Zimbabwe National Cricket Team.
The grade 4 and 5 cricketers play in the morning and the grade 6 and 7s in the afternoon.
The players are placed into teams named after cricket-playing countries such as Zimbabwe, West Indies, India, England, Australia, and Sri Lanka.
Each country challenges a different country every day during the week in limited overs matches.
All cricketers are rotated and every player has a chance to bat and bowl and certificates are awarded to high achieving cricketers twice a day throughout the week. Some of the country’s cricket legends who sharpened their talents through Stragglers include former captain and all-rounder Elton Chigumbura, P J Moor, Hamilton Masakadza and Craig Ervine.