NOTTINGHAM – Wednesday 3 May 2023, Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, Nottingham, England. Fantastic to see Colin de Grandhomme as he was practicing with Lancashire County Cricket Club (LCCC) a day before the start of the Division One County Championship 4-Day match against Nottinghamshire CCC.

The good Zimbabwe-born and former great New Zealand all-rounder always brings me a good laugh. I rushed to go and see him with great joy and give him a BIG hug. I forever want Collie to do well. He always brings me good memories from 1998 when I coached him cricket and rugby at Highlands Junior School, Harare, Zimbabwe. He was in his last year of junior school, aged 12 years old.

I made him 1st team cricket captain, batted him at number three and got him to open the bowling. He was a good medium pace bowler who always kept the ball up.

He always did great for the team, leading from the front. He was a good calm young person who listened well. I always made time for him, always happy to give him extra training and sometimes throw balls at him after or before the school team training.

His late dad Laurence de Grandhomme, who passed on in Harare in 2017, was a good batter and I used to like watching him bat in the 1980s when I was 10 to 12 years old. He played for Zimbabwe in first-class and List A matches before the country attained Test status.

He would sometimes ask me if I could please arrive for training earlier to give Colin some throw downs and he would drop Collie just after lunch before normal school cricket training started at 2pm or 2:30pm.

Amazingly, in 2005-6 just before Colin left Zimbabwe for New Zealand, I played a List A match with him for Manicaland Province against Namibia in Zimbabwe.

Patrick Gada at Lord’s in London in 2022 as coach of Nottingham MCCF Hub for the National Boys U15 T20 Cup final.

Colin always had a strong bottom hand with his back-foot play from 1998, I never wanted him to change. I would advise him to always maintain and build on that strength, but it is also very important to be good on the front foot thus be a good all-round player capable to play well and at a higher level.

I wished he would always remain strong on the back-foot, so every training session in the nets at Highlands Junior School I always worked on back-foot play, as well as cutting and pulling. Great he still remains a very strong player with his right or bottom hand. He made two international Test centuries and is still an aggressive white-ball batter.

I always prayed he gets runs and wickets whenever I saw him playing live on television for New Zealand, in English county cricket or in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

He bowled fast at one time in his older age and he was amazingly effective for New Zealand. Nice of him to have given me a ticket to watch him play in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England. It was a match between New Zealand and India at Trent Bridge but sadly rain ruined the day.

I was happy when NZ made it to the 2019 Cricket World Cup final but lost to England.

Colin was also a good rugby player. He played fly-half for the first XV rugby. He had good hands and kicked well with his right foot.

I always talked about cricket with his late dad in the late 1990s to early 2000s whenever I met him at Alexandra Sports Club in Harare.

All the best. Good on you brother and stay cool. Keep going.

*The writer Patrick Gada is a former first-class cricketer in Zimbabwe who represented Mashonaland, Manicaland and the CFX Academy. An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) qualified coach, Gada works and lives in Nottingham, working on various programmes including as cricket development officer on the African Caribbean Engagement (ACE).


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