Hellenic Academy student Matthew Schonken has been named captain of the Zimbabwe Under-19 cricket team squad ahead of their tour of India later this month.
The Zimbabwe Under-19 team are bracing for a hectic schedule which will see them embarking on a lengthy tour of India which runs from November 21 to December 19.
Sixteen-year-old Schonken has been handed the captaincy duties for the team by head coach Prosper Utseya.
Utseya, who captained the senior national team with distinction in a successful international career before venturing into coaching congratulated Schonken for being entrusted with the responsibility to lead the national side.
“Congratulations to Matthew Schonken for being chosen as captain. Being the youngest in the last World Cup squad Matthew performed well. He has also shown good leadership qualities and we are confident he will do well for the team,” Utseya said in an interview with ZimSportLive.
Schonken represented Zimbabwe as a leg-spinner at the Under 19 World Cup in the West Indies in January and February, playing in three out of Zimbabwe’s six tournament matches.
He was one of the youngest players at the World Cup, where there were a total of 240 players representing 16 international teams.
Additionally, Matthew also played in a number of Zimbabwe’s warm-up matches prior to the World Cup against Ireland, Canada and Bangladesh.
His best bowling figures on the tour were two for 48 off 10 overs against Bangladesh and one for 38 off 10 overs against the West Indies.
Turning his focus on the team’s tour of India, Utseya thanked Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) for pulling all the stops to ensure that the country’s future stars get an opportunity to get some competitive game time against high-quality opposition.
He said the tour will give him and the rest of his technical team an opportunity to assess the players as they get their first feel of top-level cricket in challenging conditions.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Zimbabwe Cricket for making possible the U19 tour of India. To all the 27 boys who have made the squad and those who have made the tour to India, I say well done and all the best,” Utseya said.
“The tour will be important for me, my technical team, as well as the selectors a good opportunity to see the boys’ performances. The India tour will be key in preparing the boys for the top level. The boys will get an opportunity to play in a different environment which will be key in testing their skills, particularly against quality spin bowling. They will also play a lot of matches giving them a great opportunity to showcase themselves. For some boys, this will be their first tour,” he added.
Zimbabwe Under-19 Squad:
Sean Bennett (Peterhouse), Munashe Chimusoro (Christian Brothers College), Panashe Gwatiringa (Wise Owl School), Dhaneel Goven (Peterhouse), Nathaniel Nhlabangana (Falcon), Ryan Kamwemba (Prince Edward), Huggins Machaka (Falcon), Campbell MacMillan (Peterhouse), Joshua Martel (Hellenic Academy), Liam Mudenda (St Stithians, SA), Tinotenda Mushonga (Radley College, UK), Newman Nyamhuri (St Charles College, SA), Ronak Patel (Hellenic Academy), Declan Rugg (Radley College, UK), Matthew Schonken (Hellenic Academy), Dennis Serima (Churchill), Mashford Shungu (Mountaineers), Brendon Sunguro (St Charles College, SA), Carlton Takawira (Wise Owl), Shaun Dzikatira (Milton) – zimsportlive.co.zw