Eastbourne College sixth former and cricket sensation, Tawanda Muyeye, joins an exclusive list as the Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year for 2019. The announcement made today means Muyeye becomes the thirteenth winner of the title since it began.
Wisden has long carried details of schools cricket. As far back as 1865, the second edition included an account of the previous year’s Eton v Harrow match. These days the coverage runs to around 200 schools over 40 pages.
In 2008, Wisden introduced a new award, the Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year. The aim was to help raise the profile of schools cricket, especially at state schools.
Well over half of the previous winners of the Schools category have gone on to play first-class cricket and a handful represent their country on the international circuit (list below, courtesy of Wisden).
The 2020 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack (which is published on April 9th) says of Tawanda:
“He is a player of immense presence, a batsman destined to empty bars. People in the know at Eastbourne [College] 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. Like them, he intimidates the attack, turning respectable bowlers into fodder for his swinging bat. Muyeye, a popular, hard-working, self-effacing student who hails from just outside Harare, is on a sports scholarship; he has family in the UK, and hopes to qualify for England rather than his native Zimbabwe. Rob Ferley, his coach at Eastbourne [College], says he is also the best off-spinner of his age group in the county, as well as an electric fielder with exceptional hand-eye co-ordination. But it is the reliability of his fast, wristy run-scoring that has given Sussex cause to be interested in his development, and makes him such an exciting prospect.”
Muyeye’s most recent of accolades comes as no surprise to Eastbournians who flock to the iconic College Field track of a summer Saturday afternoon, waiting for the next ball to go airborne over the boundary; some are lucky enough to have witnessed a Muyeye-struck flyer soar over the 80ft high Memorial building… and this against some of the best age-group bowlers the southeast has to offer.
Tawanda ended the 2019 season on a high, breaking two longstanding school records and collecting his school’s coveted Simon Green Cup for Endeavour award, prompting the Second Master to say of him:
“Tawanda Muyeye is the epitome of hard work, effort, humility and kindness. The qualities of endeavour have helped him in breaking two longstanding school records; the first pupil ever in 150 years of cricket to score two double hundreds… and the all-time run scoring record in one season.”
The record was well over 1000 runs.
What more can we say? Where Tawanda Muyeye is concerned, it is a question of “watch this space!”
Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year
2007 J. M. Bairstow (St Peter’s School, York, Yorkshire & England)
2008 J. W. A. Taylor (Shrewsbury School, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire & England)
2009 J. C. Buttler (King’s College, Taunton, Somerset, Lancashire & England)
2010 W. G. R. Vanderspar (Eton College & Middlesex)
2011 D. J. Bell-Drummond (Millfield School & Kent)
2012 T. B. Abell (Taunton School & Somerset)
2013 T. Köhler-Cadmore (Malvern College, Worcestershire & Yorkshire)
2014 D. E. Budge (Woodhouse Grove School & Durham)
2015 B. A. Waring (Felsted School & Essex)
2016 A. J. Woodland (St Edward’s School)
2017 E. T. D Casterton (RGS, High Wycombe)
2018 N. J. Tilley (Reed’s School)
2019 T. S. Muyeye (Eastbourne College)