Mavuta grateful to Tahir for mentorship
AFTER Zimbabwe’s 34-run loss to South Africa in the first Twenty20 International cricket match at Buffalo Park in East London last Tuesday, one could not help but notice Proteas leg spinner Imran Tahir handing out tips to his Chevrons counterpart Brandon Mavuta.
It is not something that is usual for any sports star to share their secrets to success with the opposition, which makes those few minutes Tahir spent with Mavuta so extraordinary.
The Pakistan-born Tahir had just been named man of the match after picking up five wickets for 23 runs in four overs to lead his adopted country to victory over their neighbours. Soon after collecting his award, Tahir made his way back to the middle to give some tips on the art of leg spin bowling to a keen Mavuta. For over 10 minutes, an attentive Mavuta was taken through the skill of leg spin.
Mavuta explained that he had requested Chevrons coach Lalchand Rajput to arrange for him to put him in touch with Tahir since he was eager to meet the veteran.
“I had a word with my coach, I’ve always wanted to have a chat with him and tell me more about our art, the coach helped me to get in contact with him and we had a word while we were coming to Paarl at the airport, he is so generous and he managed to give me his number,’’ Mavuta said.
The two went on to chat with the Mavuta requesting a session after the match so he could learn more about leg spin. Mavuta feels fortunate to have spent time with Tahir on the pitch after the match.
“I was quite privileged on that day that he managed to spare some time for me, to share with me what he knows and I am really grateful and I hope it will play a massive role in my bowling as well,’’ he said.
Mavuta feels that he benefitted a lot from the session he had with Tahir as he got all the queries he had about the art of leg spin bowling answered.
“I learnt a lot, I think all the questions I had, he managed to give me answers.”
On what was the best advice he got from Tahir, Mavuta said the master of leg spin told him that if batsmen do not read him fast in the international game, he will be successful.
“The greatest thing that he said to me was his views in terms of my bowling, there were positive anyway, he told me that as soon as batsmen are unable to read you quickly then you will dominate in international cricket. I took those words and I am going to work on myself, I believe there is always room for improvement,’’ Mavuta said.
For Mavuta, the toughest job of being a leg spinner in the international is the precision, which he says plays a huge role.
“I think the accuracy it comes to play a lot, as a leg spinner it’s an art that you need to bowl and bowl day in day out so that you become more accurate, the more you bowl the more you become accurate. Accuracy has a massive role in leg spin,’’ he said.
Mavuta has been a revelation on this tour to South Africa as he has played like a veteran yet before coming here, he had just played one international match, a T20I against Australia in July at Harare Sports Club.
Last Tuesday, “Rango” picked up one wicket for 19 runs in four overs at a brilliant economy rate of 4.75 per over. The wicket he got on the night was no ordinary one as he outfoxed South African skipper Faf du Plessis, Tendai Chisoro with the catch at deep cover. Not only did he get rid of the South African skipper but he got him with the first ball he bowled.
Mavuta went on to show his all round ability with a brave 28 off 14 in a 53 run fourth wicket partnership with Peter Moor, with the youngsters bringing Zimbabwe closer in the run chase.
The former Under-19 captain is working as hard on his bowling as he is doing with his batting with his desire being to become one of the best all-rounders in the international game.
After that session with Tahir, Mavuta is not promising immediate changes since leg spin is an art that takes time to come out.
One thing for sure, the Kadoma-born Mavuta has made an impact on this tour and has made it difficult for the selectors to even consider dropping him going forward.
Imran Tahir handing out tips to Brandon Mavuta