The Zimbabwe cricket family has paid tribute to captain Hamilton Masakadza, who announced his retirement from international cricket this week after a career spanning over 18 years.
The veteran cricketer, who turned 36 last month, has made 38 Test, 209 ODI and 62 T20I appearances for Zimbabwe since making his international debut against West Indies in 2001 and scored 9 410 international runs.
Masakadza has hit 10 international tons to go alongside 42 half-centuries.
“After a great deal of consideration, I have decided to announce my retirement from all formats of international cricket at the end of the upcoming triangular series in Bangladesh,” Masakadza said.
“It has been an enormous privilege to have played for and captained my country and this is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make.”
“Throughout my international career, it has always been about giving everything to the team, playing with dignity and upholding the spirit of the game.”
Masakadza will retire from all forms of international cricket after the conclusion of the T20I tri-series involving Bangladesh later this month, which will also include Afghanistan.
His highest score in international cricket is his unbeaten 178 against Kenya in 2009. Masakadza is fourth on Zimbabwe’s ODI and Test run-getters lists.
The tri-series is scheduled to be played between September 13 to 24.
“He is a cricket legend and we are hoping that he will take an administrative role with ZC,” a fan said.
Some thanked Masakadza for a stellar show across all the three formats of the game.
“Masakadza has become a vital cog in the Zimbabwean team across all the three formats of the game. He was outstanding.”
Zimbabwe cricket also thanked Masakadza: “At the age of 17 years and 354 days, Hamilton Masakadza scored 119 against the West Indies to become the youngest player in the world to make a century on Test debut. He bows out having made 38 Test, 209 ODI and 62 T20I appearances for Zimbabwe. Thank You Hammy.”
Zimbabwean cricket has been in turmoil for many years now. Fourteen members, including Flower, walked out of the system in 2004 when the skipper Heath Streak was dismissed for disagreements on racial quotas in the squad.
The ICC had suspended ZC for violation of its constitution after the current elected members of the Zimbabwe board were suspended by the Sports and Recreation Committee (SRC).
2000: Aged just 16 and still a schoolboy at Churchill School, became the first black Zimbabwean and youngest player to score a first-class century.
2001: At the age of 17 and 354 days scored 119 against the West Indies in Harare and thus became the youngest player in the world to make a century on his Test debut.
2009: Achieved a T201 battling ranking of number five, the highest ever by a Zimbabwean in the format.
2014: Along with Sikandar Rasa, Masakadza set the record for the highest ever partnership for Zimbabwe in ODIs 224 for the first wicket against Afghabstan in Bulawayo.
Played 209 ODIs, scored 5658 runs including five centuries and 34 fifties, and took 39 wickets.
Played 38 Tests, scored 2 223 runs, including five centuries and eight fifties, and took 16 wickets.
Played 62 T20ls, scored 1529 runs, including 10 fifties, and took two wickets.
Played 140 first-class matches, scored 9 564 runs, including 23 44 fifties, and took 62.