Harare-based Rising Stars added to Zimbabwe domestic set-up

Harare-based Rising Stars added to Zimbabwe domestic set-up11:26 PM ISTFirdose MoondaSouth Africa correspondent, ESPNcricinfo Zimbabwe's domestic set-up will return to a five-team structure with the introduction of a new outfit called Rising Stars. The T20 tournament will be held in April.All this serves as another indication that cricket in Zimbabwe is slowly starting to find a more productive path after years of administrative fumbling and financial mismanagement.A complete overhaul of the structures has seen many former players, including Taibu, return to the fold. "The academy proposal was my way of solving this, and I was grateful that my employers shared my vision to help us get where we are now."Funding for the academy came from ZC and private sponsors, which allowed Taibu, who has lived in the UK for several years, to collaborate with an English sports agency and secure club contracts for players picked as among Zimbabwe's most promising. They won 29 of those games and lost only eight, with three draws and eight washouts.Along the way, Taibu identified many potential internationals, including Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, who scored more than 1000 runs including seven fifties and a hundred across the tour, legspinner Brandon Mavuta, who topped the bowling charts with 54 scalps, and Blessing Muzarabani, a two-metre-tall pacer whose speeds neared 140kph and who Taibu believes has "all the raw ingredients to become a destructive opening bowler at the highest level".The Academy is part of a five-year plan. "I see the academy as performing a dual role: to identify and develop the next generation of players, but also a high-performance centre and finishing school for young players in or around the national side," Taibu said."In the case of Burl, Mumba, Musakanda and Ngarava, it was about them learning the trade of being a professional cricketer, what it takes to succeed at the highest level and then putting that into practice.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.