Paul Munyuki Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE cricket off-spinner Prosper Utseya says he does not read much into the International Cricket Council player rankings despite going up 10 places on the latest ratings following his historic performance in the just-ended triangular series tournament.
The One Day International triangular series included Australia and eventual winners South Africa, and Utseya was the top bowler for Zimbabwe after he took seven wickets that included a hat-trick against South Africa to move up to number 34 on the world bowling rankings.
“I feel that those rankings are just a guideline of experience and exposure one will be getting and it’s not really so important to me because at some point I was in the top six of the rankings, but I was not able to make it for the auction cut.
“So to me as an individual they do not mean much, maybe until I get an opportunity to play abroad so I do not know whether I should be happy or not about these rankings,” said the off-spinner.
Following this series, Utseya was named as the best Zimbabwean player in the tournament and was presented with US$1 000 prize money from PureOil through their ZimGold Cooking Oil brand.
However, Utseya was not the only Zimbabwean bowler to attract international attention over the last three weeks as another off-spinner and debutant John Nyumbu wrote his own piece of history to become only the second local player to take a five-wicket haul on his Test debut.
This made him the hero of the Zimbabwe bowling unit and he was named the World bowler of the month runner-up to Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath for the month of August after taking a total of 14 wickets in all forms of cricket.
Herath was the top wicket taker with almost twice what Nyumbu and third placed Wahab Raiz of Pakistan got as they were both on 14 while Dale Steyn of South Africa was fourth on 12 wickets during the month under review.
“I am happy for Nyumbu,” said Utseya.
“His performance during the series was a good start to his international career and that feat shows that we as Zimbabwe have got quality off-spinners and it shows our bowling department is doing something right,” added the former captain.
However, Utseya is next Wednesday expected to leave the country for Wales where he is scheduled to undergo bowl action tests as he was reported for suspect bowling action after his side’s seven-wicket defeat to South Africa in the third and final ODI prior to the triangular series last month.
Utseya becomes the fourth international player in recent times to have been reported with a suspect bowling action following that of Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who has since been banned from bowling.
“My bowl action is different from his, but I have to face the fact there is only two possible outcomes that either I am guilty or I am not, but I am confident of my actions and in my entire playing career I have never intentionally tried to bring the game into disrepute.
“Ajmal is a great bowler to many, he is a role model to a lot of young cricketers and to me as a cricketer I would have loved to see him play . . . he’s a hero to many,” said Utseya.
Ajmal was on Tuesday banned from bowling in international cricket by the ICC after his action was deemed to be illegal for all deliveries following a report on the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month.
The decision to ban him was taken after an ICC accredited team of bio-mechanics experts tested his action at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, Australia, and he can apply to the ICC for a re-assessment at any time after modifying his action.