To my fellow Zimbabweans,
AFTER a great deal of consideration, I have decided to announce my retirement from all formats of international cricket at the end of the upcoming triangular series in Bangladesh.
It has been an enormous privilege to have played for and captained, my country and this is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make.
As I bow out, I still can’t believe it has been 18 years since I played my first international match for Zimbabwe, scoring 119 against the West Indies in Harare and in the process, becoming the youngest player in the world at the age of 17 years and 354 days to make a century on Test debut.
Throughout my international career that has seen me playing 38 Tests, 209 One Day Internationals and 62 Twenty-20 internationals, it has been about giving everything to the team, playing with dignity and upholding the spirit of the game.
It has not been an easy road and I have failed at times, but I have never stopped trying.
That’s what makes it sad for me to leave, but I can do so with pride and a big smile on my face, knowing I have given everything to the game and my nation.
I was looking forward to the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dubai next month, but with Zimbabwe barred from taking part in the event, I feel that the time is right for the focus to shift to the next generation.
We have some fantastic talent coming through and with Zimbabwe’s focus now on the 2023 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup, I believe now is the time for the younger players to rise to the challenge of taking us to the global show-piece.
Indeed, now is the time for a new generation of young players to make their own history and take the Zimbabwe cricket team further.
As I look back, as one does at such a time, I have many people to thank for supporting me, teaching me and believing in me.
My junior coaches from my primary school days in Highfield and at Takashinga Cricket Club taught me the basics and inculcated in me a powerful love for the game which has always stayed with me.
My coaches at the provincial, and international levels, added to my craft and helped shape my personality.
They pushed me and challenged me to keep getting better.
The trainers worked hard to keep me fit — not an easy job — and allowed me to play late into my 30s.
In fact, all the support staff have been incredible throughout my career.
The Zimbabwe Cricket Board had confidence in me and entrusted me with the captaincy and I am grateful for that privilege.
I must also express my gratitude for ZC for providing me a platform and the facilities to play the game.
The media has been kind to me, highlighting my achievements and always challenging me to aim higher and keep going.
But, most of all, I have to thank the teams I played with.
I know what I am going to miss the most, being part of a change room.
The joy of bonding together and striving to achieve a goal is what made cricket special to me.
I learnt a lot from my teammates and I leave the game with wonderful memories and strong friendships.
A career in sport is almost impossible to manage without the support, guidance and reassurance of family and friends.
During tough times — and there have been many — my wife, Vimbai, has been a remarkable pillar of strength as she created around me a positive environment which was essential to my success.
I also found strength and encouragement from my parents and brothers.
Finally, I would like to thank the Zimbabwe cricket fan.
The game is lucky to have you and I have been lucky to play before you.
To represent Zimbabwe, and thus to represent you, has been a privilege and one which I will always cherish.
Let me sign off by wishing my successor and the Zimbabwe team success in the future.
Hamilton Masakadza, the Zimbabwe cricket captain, will retire from all forms of cricket after the tour of Bangladesh.
He says the recent boardroom issues which dominated the sport did not have a bearing on his decision to walk away and feels he could one day come back into the game’s administration.
The 36-year-old was the first black Zimbabwean cricketer to score a first-class hundred aged just 16.
He made his Test debut in 2001 against the West Indies and became the youngest player to score a Test century on debut, a record that has since been broken by Bangladesh’s Mohamed Ashraful.
He says Andy Flower is the best player he played with in the Chevrons. Herald