The Old Mutual Annual Colts Cricket League reaches the climax today when the hosts — the Old Mutual Heath Streak Colts — clash with Baynes Primary School in the final at their cricket ground in Bulawayo. The host academy, which is the brainchild of former Zimbabwe international Heath Streak, booked their place after pulling through from the preliminary rounds that had over 40 participants.
Joseph Rego, who is the CEO and executive director of the Old Mutual Heath Streak Cricket Academy Trust, yesterday said their main thrust is on talent identification and grassroots development. Rego said the day will also feature fun and entertainment for families and children.
“Identifying, nurturing and grooming talented colts are our top priority, the first stage of development at the academy and we lay great emphasis on our grassroots development structure, which is our prime focus.
“Cricket’s revival in Zimbabwe will pivot on how much emphasis is placed on development at the grassroots level. “What is important to us is what we produce at home, what we do at the grassroots level and what systems are in place.
“We look at how well we coach our players and youngsters, how well we develop our facilities. These are the things for us that would make a difference and the things that we focus on,” said Rego.
The academy identified 15 top cricket-playing schools for the final round of the Old Mutual Cricket League from over 40 schools that fall under their development banner.
Herman Gmeiner, Mgiqika Primary School, Mazwi Primary School, Baines Primary School, Indlovu Iyanyathela, Mtshane Primary School, Josiah Chinamano, Khumalo Primary School, Milton Junior School, Mkhithika Thebe, Insukamini Primary, Magwegwe Primary School and Tategulu Primary School are some of the schools identified.
The Old Mutual Heath Streak Colts beat Herman Gmeiner by 10 wickets to enter the semi-finals early this month.
They went on to beat Mtshane Primary by 28 runs to reach the finals.
This year the academy’s colts and Under-13s will participate at an international tournament in East Africa hosted by the Tanzania Cricket Association.
In 2016, the Old Mutual Heath Streak Colts, an Under-13 team, toured South Africa and in 2017 they were in Zambia.
“It is our endeavour to offer our youngsters the opportunity to showcase their talent; our tours help children reach and realise their full potential and offers them immense international exposure.
“Our league structure identifies talent and nominates players to attend provincial age-group trials relevant to their ability and potential,” said Rego.