exclusive: Freedom Takarusenga interview

Posted by admin on December 08, 2007

Freedom Takarusenga, who plays for Bulawayo Athletic Club in the National League and the Westerns in the Logan Cup, has taken the time to give an exclusive one-on-one interview. We talk about his hunger to play cricket at the highest level, his amazing success in the lead up to the National League this year when he scored 134 in a 2 day match, and his role in the development of cricket in Bulawayo through his own cricket club. Do you consider yourself a batsman, bowler or all-rounder? Which style of bowler are you?

Freedom Takarusenga: Allrounder and left arm orthodox off spin. I used to be a right arm fast bowler before I dislocated my shoulder three times and I had to make a decision to change arms. I changed bowling arms and most people thought that I was confused and did not know what I wanted. But you know what, I understood my body better than anyone and I even became more serious with my left hand, and even most people from the visiting teams like South Africa, India to mention a few were shocked to learn that I was now bowling left arm spin and the space of time I changed was so short that even the Zim coaches were shocked to learn that I'm bowling left handed!

Even so far this season, every game I was given the ball, I have taken a wicket(s) in the first over and it's also wicket(s) maiden over!

I have not gone beyond 8 runs in the overs that I would have bowled, and have bowled only a maximum of three overs. I'm given the ball when things are tight. The other time I was given the ball was with the opposition needing three runs to win and it was the last wicket. I took the wicket with Matthew Williams taking the catch from a miss-drive!

Last Sunday, I was given the bowl, and with my third ball I took a wicket. I was so excited because it was the first wicket that someone was clean bowled. The following over I took another wicket and the next over that was bowled, the last wicket was taken and we bowled the Roosters for 88 runs. In 2001 you trained with the national team, bowling to the Zimbabwe batsmen. How did you find the experience?

Freedom Takarusenga: It was nice and challenging. It kept me wanting more and more but the most important thing about it, it made me grow more and more hungry to play. Freedom also bowled to the West Indian batsman this Wednesday. Do you think playing club cricket in Zimbabwe prepared you well for your Logan Cup and Faithwear Cup debut in 2007?

Freedom Takarusenga: I played well in the domestic league in Bulawayo, and carried on to play in the National League that I played so well in and scored 3 half centuries in the 5 matches that we played. As for the Logan Cup and Faithwear series, I didn't do that well in the Logan Cup due to reasons that affected my play.

On the same day just before we went to play there were several things that killed me off totally. The worst case was that I had opened the batting for as long as I can remember, and come the eve of the match, I was batting at 6 and in the National League I scored all of my runs as an opening batsman. Upon asking why, certain things came like a shock to me, but I will not go into detail.

I love my cricket so much that I stayed away from school for cricket and still wrote and passed. Who is the fastest bowler in the current Westerns squad?

Freedom Takarusenga: Between Christopher Mpofu and Kawalani Ntuli. Which club are you playing for at the moment in club cricket?

Freedom Takarusenga: I am playing for Bulawayo Athletic Club and we are in the Semi Finals of the National League. We beat Old Hararians to book in. Just before the season kicked, I scored 134 in the two day match that we played at Queens Sports Club. It was part of the selection for the Logan Cup team that was meant to be this year but was postponed to a later on date to be set next year. Have you played on the new Emakhandeni cricket ground in Bulawayo? If so, how does it compare to the pitches of Bulawayo Athletic Club and Queens Sports Club?

Freedom Takarusenga: It's not really that good because its lacking water. There is not much water, but this season we learnt that there is no water.

Freedom Takarusenga: I would love to give special thanks to Heath Streak for the continued support that he gave to me in terms of equipment whenever he was around. I love to say thank you to his family. I know for someone to care for others, it started from home. Thank you and wish that he could be involved in the building of our cricket.

Special thanks also goes to the South African player, Albie Morkel. He is like a brother to me for he has helped me so much and when he comes into the country, he brings a bat with him to help a brother back home. I will always love you for that my brother. It's like I have met the whole family of the Morkels yet I have met only the two sons who are great people to have around.

Boeta Dippenaar, he helped with gloves, spikes, trainers and an inner thigh pad some years back. Dale Steyn recently helped with cricket boots and I'm using them wisely and for their intended purpose. Thank you so much. Thami Tsolekile gave a playing top, gloves some years back. I thank him.

I have had people from different countries coming into this country and have given me wisdom in terms of cricket and I thank them so much. I have had Mr Robin Brown as the coach during our Logan Cup played last season and he even helped during the national team tour when he is in town, Andy Pycroft as well.

Then I also give thanks to the players that I play with and those that I play against because I respect the sport as it is. For without a second and third person, you will not play cricket and without an opposition, you will not know where you are in terms of you cricketing level. So guys, I love you and I thank you.

I would like to thank people like Travor Phir, Sydney Dingizita, Nick Nsingo, Clement Mahachi, Victor Mhlanga, Pollock Mbobo, Derrick Townsend, Pogie Williams, N. Todd, Lovemore Banda, Bhesi, L. Gurupira, and many more people that were a source of inspiration and some took part in my grooming into a cricket player.

I also wish to continue helping others people in terms of their cricket because I run coaching clinics through out the year when I am not playing, and I also run a club called Jimbos Cricket Club that is fed by the clinics and it has supplied all teams in the league with players and still survives even when all the experienced players joined bigger clubs. I sponsor everything as well, so most of the money I earn goes towards the club and buying balls to coach other individuals.

I have started looking for help from other people to put up a proper board and try to source sponsorship to help build a better future for these guys. These developments also include girls, some who are representing the national ladies teams like Sinikiwe Mpofu, Thandolwenkosi Mlilo, Siphathisiwe to mention a few. The most awful thing that is stopping me from progressing much is equipment. If the equipment is there in town, it's beyond my reach. If you are not working or you are doing piece jobs to survive, it's so difficult to come by equipment. By the time you think you have saved enough, the equipment will be finished or the price will be triple what it was.

I just wish to play well and try to get a sponsor to help me. I know I'm not far from the doors of the national team, I will get there and when I get there, I'll be there to stay.

Thank you very much to Freedom Takarusenga for his time. wishes Freedom the best of luck in the upcoming Logan Cup and Faithwear Cup, as well as the remaining National League matches. Hopefully he will soon be in the Zimbabwe colours! If you are in Zimbabwe and you are in some way able to assist Freedom Takarusenga and the Jimbos Cricket Club through sponsorship, please let me know by emailing so I can forward him your details.