Meet Zim’s very own ‘La­sith Malinga’!

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT - Brighton Zhawi

HE DOESN’t spot the bleached-blond hair, ooze the swag or pos­sess the pace of Sri Lankan bowler La­sith Malinga, but that hasn’t stopped many from draw­ing com­par­i­son be­tween the 35-year-old sling sen­sa­tion from the Sub-con­ti­nent and Zim­babwe’s own Daniel Jack­iel.

He is a slinger armed with an un­canny bowl­ing ac­tion and his route to the top, al­beit still climb­ing the lad­der, is through net-bowl­ing. Just like La­sith Malinga. Jack­iel, 28, who prefers the bald hair­style, has flown un­der the radar for quite some time, op­er­at­ing as a club crick­eter and an oc­ca­sional net bowler for Zim­babwe and many other vis­it­ing na­tions.

But times could be chang­ing for Jack­iel who stunned the Aus­tralians as a net bowler in June.

There is a story that Aus­tralia coach Justin Langer joked Jack­iel was a spy dis­guised as a net-bowler af­ter Langer was mes­merised by the 28-year-old skill.

Im­pressed too was Mash Ea­gles coach Stu­art Mat­sikeny­eri who im­me­di­ately jumped on the op­por­tu­nity sign the young lad and drafted him into his white-ball cricket plans.

“It felt good to be se­lected to play for Mash Ea­gles,” said Jack­iel who, for the first time, was called into the fran­chise squad when Ea­gles played Mid-West Rhi­nos ear­lier this month.

“I told my­self that should the op­por­tu­nity to play arise, I would make full use of it and win games for my team. “I’m still at a loss for words. “I never be­lieved that one day I would get se­lected to play for Mashona­land Ea­gles, but now I think there are still big­ger things in store for me in the fu­ture,” he said.

Dare to dream Danny boy, for the do­mes­tic sea­son ends with a T20 tour­na­ment in March, while the World T20 Qual­i­fiers lie in wait

Al­ready, ‘Malinga’- as Jack­iel is now af­fec­tion­ately known as in cricket cir­cle­shas im­pressed those that have caught a glimpse of him bowl­ing, and the list is not con­fined to the Aus­tralians and Mat­sikeny­eri alone.

The lad also earned rave re­views from Sri Lankan coaches when they last toured Zim­babwe in 2016.

“The sling­ing ac­tion comes nat­u­rally and be­cause of its sim­i­lar­ity to Malinga’s mates started call­ing me Malinga and he even­tu­ally be­came a role model.

“I re­mem­ber meet­ing with Sri Lanka bowl­ing coach, he told me how La­sith Malinga used to prac­tice and I ap­plied it and it’s work­ing,” said Jack­iel.

Jack­iel speaks glow­ingly of the pos­i­tive com­pli­ments he got from the Aussies.

“I was re­ally touched and sur­prised when ev­ery­one came and said “Well bowled”. “I was so happy to bowl to Aussie bats­men as a net bowler.

“I bowled to (Glenn) Maxwell, Aaron Finch, (Jack) Wil­der­muth, and even man­aged to chat with Richard­son.

“I got a bat from was re­ally great,” he said.

Off the field, Jack­iel is just a nor­mal guy bal­anc­ing work and his cricket.

“You have to bal­ance the two to achieve your goals and know where your bread and but­ter is.

“I work at Ma­ti­zanadzo and Warhust as a le­gal clerk,” he said.

Speak­ing on Jack­iel; Mash Ea­gles coach Mat­sikeny­eri said: “I have been im­pressed by Jack­iel’s skills es­pe­cially with the white ball I am ex­cited with what he can of­fer.”

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