Coventry unfazed by Negative Nellies
WHEN Youth, Sports and Arts Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry revealed she called Brendon Taylor rather than Zimbabwe cricket skipper Hamilton Masakadza to congratulate the Chevrons on a famous win, there was a social media furore.
“I had an amazing chat with @ BrendanTaylor86 to send congratulations to our cricket team. They are so pumped and they should be! Its important that all our athletes, like our artists and musicians, have the best environment so they can perform at their ultimate! Working on it...,” tweeted the minister after Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh in a Test match.
The anger among some cricket fans was swift. Why call BT when Mudhara Hammy is the skipper?
As it turns out, those who accused Minister Coventry of all sorts of things where crying more than the bereaved. Masakadza was cool with it all.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting between the minister and the Chevrons at Harare Sports Club last Wednesday, the national cricket team skipper opened up in the incident.
“The minister did indeed call and she mentioned that she had actually got my number through BT. It was really a special moment for her to call us. That was my first time ever to speak to a minister … I actually froze a little bit when she first called.
“I immediately put it on the (WhatsApp) group with the team to say the minister was sending her congratulations which I thought was a very nice touch from her. It was very encouraging for the boys.
“A lot of the guys look up to her. You saw today the number of selfies that were lined up; it’s someone who we have always looked up to. She is one of our heroes, one of the sporting legends in Zim. So for her to have called us and have shown us that recognition was really a proud moment for us.”
Minister Coventry also gave her side of the story.
“My husband was at school with Brendan and we already had his number and I wanted to get hold of Hamilton, so I managed to get hold of Brendan first. For me there is nothing more to it.
“Unfortunately the position that I have now, there will always be a Negative Nelly; that comes with the terrain. But for people that actually know me, they know that’s a lot of rubbish.”
That aside, Masakadza is determined to lead Zimbabwe to more wins, having bagged his first in his second stint as skipper away to Bangladesh.
Many have called for him to focus on Test cricket only when in fact he is Zimbabwe’s best T20 player, ranked 20th globally among batsmen with 1 516 runs from 58 innings.
The next best T20I batsman from Zimbabwe is Elton Chigumbura whose 823 runs have come from 53 innings.
But Masakadza takes the criticism in stride, saying he has been criticised since his first international match when he smacked 100 on his Test debut in the second innings against West Indies at Harare Sports Club in 2001.
After failing in the first innings of the Test, scoring nine runs, Masakadza was disappointed with himself and decided to walk back to the hotel. He got a shocker along the way. “I was walking behind these two guys and heard them talking about me. One of them actually mentioned that I was in the team because of favouritism.
“So even from the first game I played I have had that (criticism), so it’s something that doesn’t really faze me now.
“I have learnt to deal with it and know there is going to be people that will always be negative but at the same time there will be supportive people that are always going to be positive even when things aren’t going well,” he said.
Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry isn’t affected by the wrong interpretation of her congratulations tweet to the Zimbabwe Cricket team after a recent historic Test win over Bangladesh.