YOUNG Zimbabwean cricketers will be given a chance to work on their skills in the United Kingdom courtesy of a new cricket academy set to be launched by former national team captain Tatenda Taibu.
The academy will be based in Liverpool, England.
The project is part of Taibu’s role as consultant and selector for Zimbabwe Cricket and will enable the brightest local young prospects to nurture their cricket skills in the UK, starting this year.
Taibu, who retired from professional cricket in 2012 and is now based in Liverpool, hopes the new venture will help to re-establish Zimbabwe on the international stage by giving young players the chance to develop both personally and professionally outside of their homeland.
The programme will consist of a series of coaching and mentoring sessions, with matches to be played against county academy or development squads.
And with all games scheduled to be played midweek, selected players will also have the opportunity to turn out for their cricket clubs during weekends.
“Now that Zimbabwe is making its way back in world cricket, we must strive to improve our performances at all levels and the next generation of talent is a crucial part of this,” Taibu told cricket365.com.
“Some of these players will be experiencing overseas conditions for the first time and it will be a valuable education for them, from a cricketing and personal perspective. If these guys can thrive in English conditions it will be a huge boost to their confidence and career and, who knows, maybe turn them into a star of the future,” he said.
The academy will be run in partnership with Liverpool-based Flash Sports, which will be providing administration and logistical support.
Taibu himself will lead the coaching and will be supported by former Zimbabwe team-mate Stuart Matsikenyeri.
The holder of the record for the youngest ever Test captain — he was just 20-years-old, when he led his country against Sri Lanka in 2004 — Taibu retired from the game aged just 29.