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Who is Tawanda Muyeye, the Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year for 2019?

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read
Pic credit: Bromley CC/Twitter

Eastbourne College’s Tawanda Muyeye is the latest in a prestigious line of recipients of the Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year award, securing the gong in the 2020 edition of the Wisden Almanack.

The award was incepted in 2007, and set an early trend for picking out young players who would go on to enjoy great international success, with Jonny Bairstow, James Taylor, and Jos Buttler the first three winners. All have gone on to make hundreds for England, with the first and last Ashes and World Cup winners. Taylor is now an England selector.

Though no Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year since 2009 has gone onto play for England, the 2014 winner Dylan Budge has played for Scotland, and Daniel Bell-Drummond, Tom Abell, and Tom Kohler-Cadmore have all enjoyed success at county level.

Muyeye is an all-rounder, but an attacking batsman first and foremost. The right-hander made one of only two double-centuries in schools cricket in 2019, a feat Muyeye also achieved in 2018, an Eastbourne College first. He finished with 1,112 runs at an average of 69.50 for the season, the third-most in the country.

Born in Harare but with family in the United Kingdom, Muyeye was named a reserve for Zimbabwe’s 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup squad. However, his ambition is to qualify and play for England, and Sussex have displayed an interest in the youngster. On Under 17 County Cup debut for the south-coast club, he made a brisk half-century.

His slow bowling is not to be discounted; according to his coach Rob Ferley, Muyeye is the best off-spinner in his age-group in the county, and he claimed 23 wickets at 16.73 last year. But it is his batting that has him “destined to empty bars”, in the words of Douglas Henderson, writing in the Wisden Almanack.

“People in the know at Eastbourne have learned to ask when he will next be playing, so they can feast on his style, which shows the aggressive influence of Viv Richards and Kevin Pietersen, two of his idols,” wrote Henderson. “Like them, he intimidates the attack, turning respectable bowlers into fodder for his swinging bat.”

If you needed more convincing that Muyeye is one to watch, such can be found on his YouTube channel; the youngster appears equally adept at the twin modern arts of inventive batsmanship and social media self-promotion. In fairness, the shot at 1.10 in the below video could justify a 1,536-page tome all on its own.

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