Former Zimbabwe Captain and batsmen, Hamilton Masakadza Tuesday afternoon announced his retirement from international cricket in a career spanning 19 years.
Masakadza played 38 Tests, 209 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 68 T20 Internationals for the Chevrons,
He became the youngest ever cricketer to score a century on Test debut. At the age of 17 years and 254 days, Hamilton scored a brilliant 119 against the West Indies in Bulawayo in 2000-01.
This record has since been eclipsed by Mohammad Ashraful. His knock helped Zimbabwe draw a Test match and he was looked upon as one for the future.
Hamilton took some time out to pursue his studies at the University of Free State in South Africa. The combined pressure of studies and playing cricket affected his performance and he had a poor outing in the domestic season.
The selectors decided to wait for his return to Zimbabwe after his studies, but the Rebel crisis in the 2004 season prompted a hasty recall to the national team.
Playing against England, he struggled to make an impression, but he bounced back with a gritty fifty in the last match.
Masakadza continued his impressive form when he was involved in a record 167-run opening stand with Vusi Sibanda against the West Indies in 2007.
Although Zimbabwe collapsed and handed the match to the Windies, it was a learning experience for a team shattered by the player rebellion. However, he experienced a slump in form during the 2008-09 season and many criticised him for being too slow.
Masakadza continued to work hard and he experienced a purple patch during the series against Kenya when he became the only Zimbabwe player to go past 150 runs twice in ODIs. He carted the Kenyan bowlers to all parts of the ground by scoring 178 and 156.
He showed glimpses of his old form by playing some important knocks in the 2010 tri-series, featuring India and Sri Lanka.
When Zimbabwe returned to the Test fold in 2011, Hamilton made a strong comeback by hitting his second Test century against Bangladesh. It came in a losing cause as Zimbabwe suffered a humiliating 143-run defeat.
However, he had made quite an impression, being the only batsman who offered any resistance against a decent Bangladeshi bowling attack.
Hamilton has also did well in the T20s and has contributed to many significant performances. A gifted batsman, he remains one of Zimbabwe’s strongest openers in limited-overs cricket and a trusted top-order batsman in Tests.
Masakadza has become a vital cog in the Zimbabwean team. He along with Brendan Taylor and Elton Chigumbura form the core of the team.
The selectors also made him the vice-captain for Tests and ODIs. On the tour to Bangladesh in 2014, Masakadza was the leading run-scorer in Tests for his side, he accumulated 356 runs in the three matches.
He was also one of the bright spots in the subsequent ODI series, which Zimbabwe lost 5-0.
Having missed out on the 2011 World Cup due to poor form, Masakadza was a certainty in the 15-man squad that was picked for the 2015 World Cup.
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