HARARE – Praise doesn’t come so easily from Stephen Mangongo, because for a very long time he has accustomed himself to make his cricketers work hard for the applause, and use it to transform their lives.

But the former Zimbabwe coach didn’t censure himself after opening batsman Joylord Gumbie’s magnificent century on Tuesday helped the hosts beat touring Pakistan Shaheens by seven wickets at Harare Sports Club.

Gumbie (111) and the experienced Craig Ervine (161) both smashed brilliant tons as the Zimbabwean side led the one-day series 3-1 with two games to go.

27-year-old Gumbie, yet another protégé of Mangongo, hasn’t made his international cricket breakthrough despite consistent performances in the fringes over the seasons.

“This batsman has the opener’s technique, temperament and personal hunger to succeed,” Mangongo told SportsCast on Tuesday.

“I’m not surprised at all that he has been patient enough, (and) waited without losing desire. Many a cricketer would have quit.”

Joylord Gumbie in the colours of franchise side Manicaland Mountaineers.

On form, Gumbie now looks on course to finally make his Zimbabwe debut during the forthcoming World Cup Qualifiers being hosted by the Southern African country from 18 June to 9 July.

“It’s actually long overdue,” remarked Mangongo.

“Perhaps he was overshadowed by more explosive guys who kept him at bay, the likes of Chamu (Chibhabha), Vusi (Sibanda), etc. I believe given a specific role to bat deep, Zimbabwe has its own Babar Azam.”

The composed right-hander from Glen View was a member of Zimbabwe’s squad at the 2014 Under-19 World Cup in the UAE, and later on featured in Mangongo’s Zimbabwe A side, making lasting impression on the renowned development stalwart.

“I brought him into professional cricket,” Mangongo stated. “I identified him as a club cricketer and brought him into franchise cricket, and Zim ‘B’, which I used to have as my sparing team when I was in charge of Zim ‘A’.”


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