HARARE – Haunted by a series of misfortune –  which included a costly drink drive offence abroad and a part in a fatal accident that killed a fellow sportsman – Tarisai Musakanda’s life took an unexpected turn, his promising cricket career teetering on the brink of collapse.

Once touted as a potential captain of Zimbabwe’s national team, Musakanda saw his life fall into a heap, and contemplated walking away from the game, and the public eye.

Musakanda’s fast descent into disarray started in January 2020 when Australian team New City Cricket Club fired him after the gifted Zimbabwean batsman was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Stunned by the consequences of his actions, Musakanda returned home to Zimbabwe, feeling lost and broken.

“I was all over the place, I had lost everything,” Musakanda, who is now reviving his career on the club scene in England, tells SportsCast.

The comforts of home didn’t ease Musakanda’s misery. It only got worse. While driving in Harare in January 2022, he hit former tennis player Gwinyai Chingoka, who later died in hospital from the injuries.  Musakanda was charged with culpable homicide, and later cleared.

While he has succeeded in shaking off his drinking problem, responsibility in the death of a man, no matter unintentional as was the case, is a tragic mishap that can change one’s life forever.

Getting life back together after that is not a small ask, but Musakanda has been brave about it.

“It’s tough to get over such a past, especially the accident,” Musakanda testifies to the inner torment. “It took a lot from me. However, with the Australian incident, I have found peace with it because it was something I could have controlled. I was all over the place and I had lost everything. But I managed to be around people that gave me a positive push and I had to heal at my time. The process of healing is different  to every individual, so now I understand myself a lot better and I’m going to keep giving myself the chance to stay focused on my goals and life.”

Musakanda is now on a new path of his journey to recovery, after joining Barton Cricket Club in the UK in May. The right-handed batter is the second highest run-scorer in the Devon ‘B’ Division with two centuries and one half-century. He is also the fourth leading wicket-taker in the league with his medium pace.

“This opportunity is very important for me because I had lost love of the game,” remarks Musakanda.

“I was going though the motions these last two seasons in Zimbabwean domestic cricket. I have managed to find my rhythm, and it has made it so much easier to get back to the routines that I used to go through when I was at the top of my game.”

Musakanda is thoroughly grateful for the lifeline thrown at him by Barton CC, who signed him as an overseas professional for the 2024 season.

“I have a team and a club that understands that the past few years have been horrible, and they have opened their arms to give me the best opportunities to perform and get back to enjoying the game,” he says.

“I’m finding my groove. I really feel more mature about my game and I’m in control, which is a good sign. The Barton family has been amazing. They have given me the platform to to enjoy the game once more.”

Musakanda – who has played five Tests, 16 ODIs and 12 T20Is – last played international cricket nearly two years ago. Aged 29 now, he believes he can regain his place in the Zimbabwe team.

“I do see myself getting back in national colours, I just have to work more than I used to,” comments Musakanda.

“It is a long road back to the international stage, but once key areas become polished, everything will fall into place as I go.”


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