One of Zimbabwe’s most promising black cricketers, Trevor Nyasha Madondo, died at Parirenyatwa Hospital in the capital, Harare, on the morning of June 11, 2001, at the age of 24. Trevor Madondo was single at the time of his death and was attacked by a severe bout of malaria at the end of the previous month.
He was admitted to Mutare General Hospital earlier but later transferred to Parirenyatwa. He was buried at Yeoville Cemetery in Mutare on the afternoon of June 12, 2001. Trevor, who represented Zimbabwe in the national team, the Board XI, and the Zimbabwe age group teams, was born on November 22, 1976, in Mount Darwin, about 180 kilometers northeast of Harare.
His nickname was Baby Chingokes due to his supposed resemblance to Zimbabwe Cricket Union president Peter Chingoka. Trevor was the first black cricketer to be selected for Zimbabwe as a batsman. His three predecessors, Everton Matambanadzo, Henery Olonga, and Mpumelelo Mbangwa, are all pace bowlers.
As a right-handed batsman, Trevor played three Tests for Zimbabwe, scoring 90 runs. His Test debut was in the first Test against Pakistan at Queen’s Sports Club in Bulawayo in March 1998. His last match was the drawn Boxing Day Test in Wellington against New Zealand in December 2000. He made the highest score, an unbeaten 74.
Trevor Madondo also represented Zimbabwe in 13 One Day International, in which he scored 291 runs. His debut was against India at Queen’s Sports Club, while his last match was against the West Indies in a Carlton and United triangular series in Perth in January 2001. Another setback happened in Trevor’s family when his brother Tafadzwa Madondo died in a motorbike accident while vacationing in Bali in November 2008.
Trevor Madondo had not had time to perform at his best in the few matches. He played for Zimbabwe and looked talented but inexperienced. He tended to go for big shots rather than concentrate on working the ball around the field for singles. Unfortunately, he was never on the national team for a long enough time to get the necessary experience. The only notable exception was the 1999-2000 season, when he was given four one-day internationals in a row, but his top score was only 29.
His stint with the national team was interrupted by injuries, a slump in form, and, on some occasions, his undisciplined lifestyle, which landed him in trouble with the authorities. Trevor has no family background in the game. He was sent to boarding school at Lilfordia, about 20 kilometers west of Harare. For his primary education, the headmaster at the school was Iain Campbell, the father of former national captain Alistair Campbell. He inspired and nurtured Trevor’s cricketing talent.
Trevor Madondo won a place on the Colts cricket team in Grade 3, and by the time he was in Grade 5, Trevor was already playing as an opening bowler, right-arm medium pace, and batted at number four. He also played for the school’s rugby and hockey teams.
After promoting into Grade 6, Trevor was selected for the Partridges, the national primary school’s cricket team. In 1989, Trevor won the selection for the Mashonaland Country Districts primary school select team, which toured England. Trevor then went to Falcon College in Bulawayo for his secondary education. The institution has produced many of Zimbabwe’s test players.
After two dormant years, Trevor began to keep wickets, and this led to his selection for the Fawns, the national under-15 team, and he went on to tour Namibia in 1992. Trevor has also represented Zimbabwe schools in South Africa for two years. While still at school, Trevor was chosen to make his first-class debut as a wicketkeeper for Matabeleland against the touring county side Glamorgan.
By then, he was already playing club cricket for the Old Miltonians, making thirties and forties with the bat. After leaving school in 1995, Trevor won a place at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, to study for the Bachelor of Commerce degree. Trevor played on the first team at Rhodes, where he made the highest score of 77.
However, his university commitments prevented him from playing more cricket for Matabeleland in the Logan Cup. But Trevor was a regular selection for the Zimbabwe Cricket Board XI to play in the UCBSA Bowl competition, when available. His best score was 86 against Transvaal B in a three-day match. In 1999, Trevor was part of the first intake of the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy.
Trevor Madondo’s death came at a time when the Zimbabwe Cricket Union was making genuine efforts to encourage black players with the formation of the Integration Task Force. He would, no doubt, have featured prominently in the latest plans. His death is a serious loss for Zimbabwe cricket. He was an extremely talented cricketer to play for his country.