For 18 year-old Harare-born cricketer Dylan Hondo, sports is part and parcel of his family. His eldest brother Douglas, once a schoolboy cricket ace himself, is the former Zimbabwe Test cricketer, now based in the UK.
His other brother Daniel also played cricket for the Zimbabwe Under-13s in his first year at Churchill High School before switching to rugby. He is now the captain of Harare Sports Club rugby team and the Zimbabwe senior rugby team.
Now young Dylan, the youngest member of the Hondo sporting clan, hopes to follow in his famous brothers’ footsteps.
The promising Churchill High School star made the first step after being included in Zimbabwe’s Under-19 cricket team for this month’s ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates.
Dylan told Harare News that by being included in the national Under-19 team he was thrilled to have finally realised his dream of representing Zimbabwe.
“It’s definitely a dream come true. I’ve always looked up to my brothers for inspiration and motivation and to finally get a chance to represent Zimbabwe at a World Cup like they did is an absolutely wonderful feeling. I know there is some pressure that comes with me being a Hondo but I have learnt to handle it because I’m someone who relishes competition,” said Dylan.
Although Zimbabwe face a tough task at the World Cup after being drawn in the same group with giants South Africa and the West Indies, Dylan said they would not be there just to make up the numbers. He said they have worked very hard to prepare for the tournament and would be aiming to win every game at the global showpiece. “Obviously we are in a tough group but we are determined to be competitive and try to win every game. We have been training for the last eight months.”
A fine all-rounder who is able to combine top-class left arm spinners with useful middle order batting and superb fielding, Dylan could turn out to be one of the finds of the tournament in the UAE.
Zimbabwe Under-19 team coach Walter Chawaguta was full of praise for Hondo and tipped the young spinner to shine in the spin friendly conditions in the subcontinent.
“I’ve had the privilege to coach all the Hondo brothers, Daniel, Douglas and now Dylan who I also coached at Under-18. I worked with Douglas when I was his coach and later when he was my bowling coach when I was national team coach.”
“They just have this thing about them; they are calm and never seem to be under pressure at all and that’s a very important quality in any competitive sport, especially cricket.
“He’s a quality left arm spinner, one of the top fielders in the team and he can bat very well. So for me he’s a very big addition to the team and I’ve no doubt he’ll find himself in the starting eleven.”
The Zimbabwe Under-19 team, who leave for the UAE on 7 February, will play their first match against Canada on 14 February before engaging West Indies and South Africa on 16 and 17 February respectively. Zimbabwe Squad: Malcolm Lake (Captain), Luke Jongwe, Stephen Kanhukwamwe, Kieran Geyle, Joylord Gumbie, Charles Kunje, Patrick Mambo, Cuthbert Musoko, Herbert Chikomba, Deven Bell, Ryan Bell, Tarisai Musakanda, Dylan Hondo, Mkululi Nyathi, Shaun Handirisi. Head coach: Walter Chawaguta; assistant coach: Alois Tichana; bowling coach: Mluleki Nkala; team manager: Nick Singo.