Zach Sibanda had a dream month-long period at the end of last year and the beginning of this one. He played at the national under-17 week for the Central Gauteng Lions, at the CSA Cubs Week for the Gauteng Lions under-19 team and then at the Peninsula Festival in Cape Town for Jeppe, and took close to 30 wickets between the three tournaments.
He wasn’t surprised that he did so well although, he said, he doesn’t expect that things will always work out that way for him. “I try to do what is expected of me,” he said, “which as a medium pace bowler is to consistently hit the right areas, to keep a tight line and be consistent.”
That approach certainly worked for him. It began at the Under-17 Week in PE where, he believes he was tight and kept the batsmen under pressure. “I had a very good second day when I bowled 13 overs, taking 1/14. I think that’s when they noticed me and I was chosen for the Cubs Week team.”
He had a great week at that tournament, in Stellenbosch, taking 12 wickets in all. “I enjoyed the challenge of playing against the top under-19 players in the land,” he said.
From there, he joined the Jeppe 1st team on the tour to Cape Town. “I missed the first game, against SACS, but played in the others and took 12 wickets again. I think my performance against Rondebosch Boys’ High was possibly my best of my career. I took 6/18 in 10 overs.”
Zach has been something of a late developer. He only began playing consistently for the 1st team in the third term of last year. “I had to step up when the matrics stopped playing after the St David’s Festival and I have enjoyed the challenge,” he said.
As for the year ahead, Zach is confident that this Jeppe team is going to do well. “We have a number of very good players and we showed a lot of character on tour,” he said.
“You can’t always expect to do well, you don’t pick your opposition or control how they are going to play. All you can do is make sure you tick all your own particular little boxes. That’s how I’m going to approach this year.”
Zach is hoping to make the first hockey team this year after playing for the seconds in 2019. “My school work is also a priority,” he said, “but I enjoy playing hockey with my friends and I am looking forward to that.”
A sound approach from a sensible young man. We are looking forward to watching him as the year unfolds.