Tinotenda Mawoyo, Zimbabwe crickets opening batsmen

Sport | By Tinotenda Mawoyo, Cricketer | 06 April 2013
PHOTO: © Jekesai Njikizana

We had the privelege of talking to Tinotenda Mawoyo, Zimbabwe crickets' opening batsmen. he agreed to answer question from fans from the Cricket Zimbabwe Fan page, Zimbabwe Cricket Forums and Twitter.

Batting with Tinotenda Mawoyo

What is your preferred format of the game? - Zimfanatic69
Test match cricket, because in my view this format is the pinnacle of international cricket. No doubt the shorter versions of the game provide good entertainment in a much shorter time-frame, but in my view test cricket is still superior in terms of what it demands from each player. It combines all facets of the game such as endurance, patience, physical conditioning, stamina, mental strength, game sense, and most important, game-winning strategy. Based on the above, I believe that the test cricket arena is definitely a much better all-round character-builder of the game than the shorter versions, although I value the learning platform provided by all 3 formats of the game.
Do you see yourself scoring at least 10 Centuries in your career - Lambda
That is certainly the plan, and especially if I continue to work at my game, as well as keep myself fit. I believe that is indeed achievable.

Would you like to spend more time playing cricket in domestic leagues overseas to improve your skills base -  Andrew
The experience of foreign conditions is paramount in the game of cricket, and to be honest in all forms of international sport today. For this reason I am currently actively looking for appropriate overseas platforms where I could ply my trade. I would value an opportunity to spend more time playing overseas, not only to improve my playing skills, but also to improve my overall game sense and character. Overseas professionals have a significantly more demanding responsibility on their shoulders. Getting requisite exposure to this can only be beneficial to my game.
How did you hang in there against Saeed Ajmal and the doosra? - eugene
(Laughs). That’s a question I am often asked. I think the first important thing is that I relished the challenge and had a plan as to how I wanted to play him (even though it didn’t always look that way…!!). It was the first time I played against a spinner of his quality and I made sure I tried to wear him down as much as possible, even if this meant my scoring rate was somewhat slowed down during his overs. Not being able to pick his doosra most of the first day, I made sure I stayed in my crease and played for the off spinner, hoping that if I didn’t pick the doosra, it would spin past my bat and on several occasions this is what happened….. along with a couple of outside edges here and there (smiles). As the day progressed though I started picking the doosra in the air as he bowls it with a scrambled seam, and I also took note that he bowls a predominantly middle and leg line with his doosra trying to get you to play the ball through the leg side as opposed to his off spinner which he lands more on the off side.
Are you comfortable opening? - Andrew
I am very comfortable opening. It’s a role I’ve played since Grade 6, i.e 15 years ago, and there’s nowhere else in the order I would rather bat.
As an opening batsman, what do you feel is your role in the Zimbabwean Test setup and how does it differ (if at all) with your role for the Mountaineers in the Logan Cup? - Clikcspeed
We, (Zimbabwe) have struggled for a consistent opening partnership for some time now, as well as an opening batsman who can bat time and provide a sheet anchor for the team. With continued work on my game, I believe my style of play fits in pretty well with this void and my aim is to make the opening slot in the longer version my own. This is no different when I turn out for my franchise the Mountaineers. 
Can you chose where you want to bat and can you refuse? - POVO
You can be asked where you prefer to bat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the coaching staff will bat you there. Personally, I wouldn’t refuse. I’ve had to bat down the order before where I’m not comfortable, but cricket is a team sport and what may be in your best interests as an individual is not always in the best interests for the team. Further, as in all other team sports, your ability to know well what needs to be done in all other positions of the field or in my case batting order, allows one to step into a good supporting role whenever the need arises.

Are you still in touch with your wicket keeping? Would he be willing to train and take up the additional responsibility of the gloves in Tests (and possibly ODIs) to fill the void created by Taibu's exit? Or does he want to concentrate in batting alone now? - CrimsonAvenger
I am no longer wicket keeping. I have had problems with my knees since I was under 19 and had surgery on the left one in 2008 which kept me out of the game for 11 months. The advice given to me was to take a break from the gloves as this puts extra strain on the knees. If I were to start keeping again I doubt I would do it in Test matches, I don’t believe I would carry out both responsibilities of opening the batting and wicket keeping well, as both roles are quite demanding in their own right.
Some batsmen have a set routine before they go into bat what is yours? - POVO
The day before the game after the team training session, I like to have a good long hit in the nets by myself. I prefer to do this in the late afternoon to early evening when the nets are usually free and there are minimal distractions. This gives me time to have a hit with a clear my mind and not feel rushed as you sometimes can in a team net with so many batters to go through. Grant Flower has been a great help in this regard always willing to throw-down as and when I need him to. A good session always gives me confidence, peace and clarity of mind ahead of the game. Back at the hotel I try and get my shower and dinner out the way as soon as I can. Visualisation is another important part of my pre match routine. If I’ve played at the ground before, I try to remember the games I’ve played there previously and did well in. If I’ve played against some of the opposition before or faced some of their bowlers, I try to remember my successes against them, how I played each bowler, where I scored my runs and how I dominated the attack as a whole. If available to me sometimes I watch snippets of the opposition bowlers as well. But, as well as making sure I’m as prepared for the challenge as I can be, it’s important not to overload myself with info and over analyse the opposition. Before I sleep the last thing I do is read my bible and say my prayers, and make sure I get in a good night’s rest before the game.

What are the team's short term goals at the moment? - @ThatDarkChild
To get our fielding back up to being the best in the world, where we once were for a very long time, as well as being more consistent in our batting and bowling departments. At the moment we can put up a really good show on one day and look like a totally different team on the next. We are also working on perfecting our killer instinct. We need to be more ruthless when we get ourselves into winning positions, converting tight finishes into victories and turning seeming defeats into tight finishes.

What are your thoughts on sledging, and sending a batsmen on his way after a dismissal and is cricket really a gentleman's game? - POVO
I certainly do think cricket’s a gentleman’s game. Sledging has become part of the game now and is often used as a tactic by several teams to try and get the opposition batsmen unsettled, annoyed and even aggravated. This can result in the batsmen playing a rash shot, giving a chance or even getting out. I have no problem with that and I believe that this tests ones character and resolve at the crease. As for as sending a batsman off? I don’t agree with that. If you are going to say something to me say it while I’m batting and have a chance to respond with my bat, not when I’m out and walking off.

Whats the most memorable sledge directed at you while you were batting and does it really affect your psyche? - POVO
(Laughs) I was playing against Australia ‘A’ at Country Club, and I was batting in our second innings trying to salvage a draw. It was just before lunch and my partner and I had shut up shop with about a half hour to go to lunch. I was still relatively beefy then. Dave Warner was fielding under the helmet at short square he pipes up, ‘Bowl him a pie Justin, I’m sure he’ll go for that’!

Did you know

Q: I would like to know if any batsmen, so far has carried the bat against an attack that featured Ajmal besides Tino Mawoyo?
A: "No, he's the only one. the last opener to carry his bat against Pakistan was back in 1998 - oddly also from Zimbabwe ... Grant Flower."
Ask Steve @ Cricinfo

For more detailed stats about Tinotenda Mawoyo visit his Cricinfo profile

Read More interviews in this series;
Tinotenda Mawoyo talks about cricket politics and development In Zimbabwe

Tinotenda Mawoyo and captaincy