Zubayr Hamza Returns to Six Gun Grill WP Squad for Crucial GBets Rocks Match

Cape Town, Friday December 23rd, 2022

Zubayr Hamza has been named by Coach Salieg Nackerdien in the 13-man WP Squad for today’s CSA 1 Day Cup match against the Rocks at Eurolux Boland Park. The Coach had this to say about Zubayr’s inclusion:

“It’s fantastic to have him back for this crucial game against the Rocks. Zubayr is bringing a lot of experience as well as calmness to the batting line-up and for us its crucial in such important game to have a player like Zubayr in our batting line-up. Hopefully it will go well for him in this game after a long absence. I think there’s a general positive feeling that Zubayr is bringing something special to the team and we are very grateful to have him back for this game against the Rocks.”

In an exclusive Interview, the WPCA Media team caught up with Zubayr ahead of his return to competitive cricket.

WPCA Media: Zubayr, it’s great to have you back with the Western Province squad. We are looking forward to seeing you back in the middle soon. WPCA media have a few questions we would like to ask you:

WPCA Media: Seeing you in the nets and in training, you are looking very sharp. What has your fitness regime been to build up to your return?

ZH: Thank you very much. I’m feeling really good and long may it continue.  I’ve always enjoyed being active and there came a point in the past few months where I decided I needed to set myself goals to be physically ready by the time that I was eligible to play again. So with that goal came a lot of dedication and motivation to stay consistent with regards to my fitness levels. Dieter (Swanepoel, WP Fitness Coach) gave me a programme which serves as a life guideline to stay within and to ensure that I was doing sport-specific fitness exercises and activities.  Having close friends around me that were always up to help me, to work out together or train together made it a lot easier to stay fit.  It was a  goal of mine to be up for it and ready as soon as I had the opportunity to play again and hopefully I can make the most of it. I know I’ve put in a lot of work, be it from a mental preparation or from a physical standpoint. I believe I’ve put in a lot of work over the past few months and I hope it pays off.

WPCA Media: Sport at the highest level is a lot to do with psychological and mental preparation. How have you been preparing yourself for this moment?

ZH: I think having nine months off, it’s a lot of time to spend not just out of the game, but there were large periods I spent pretty much in isolation. I think having to go through those periods (the goal was) to come out feeling refreshed with a lot more energy, passion and hunger to succeed in the game. I think that’s helped me in terms of clarity (as to) what I want to achieve in the sport and what I want to get in return from the sport.  What happened is in the past, I’ve put it behind me and I’ve worked hard to prepare as much as I can for the next opportunity I get to play. So for me it was just being clear in what the next steps are and what the future looks like.  Then also just spending time away from cricket and allowing myself to recuperate and kind of go through the difficult times. I think I’m better from a mental perspective or space-wise having gone through a difficult time in not just my career but in my life, so understanding that I’ve gone through a tough period and then asking myself and answering those difficult questions regarding the sport. That has allowed me to prepare quite well for the possible opportunity to play again.

WPCA Media: Working with the team at Western Province, what are your goals for the remainder of the season?

ZH: Yes, I’ve been allowed to train with the Western Province side for the past two months and coming to the environment the guys have been very welcoming and supportive. Fortunately enough I was able to hit the ground running and fit into the environment quite fluently so I’m very appreciative of that, along with the fact that I got a couple of very good friends in the squad that I spend quite a bit of time with the outside of cricket and they were supportive thoughout the past nine months. I’ve been in contact with them, been training quite well with them. The team’s goals have been set and all I can do is do my best to contribute towards achieving those goals. We would like to compete in every game we play, and we’re still in the running for two of the trophies, in the one-day cup and the four-day competition. So for me it would just be to perform to my utmost best and put consistent runs on the board to help the team as much as I can.

WPCA Media: You currently have 6 test and 1 ODI caps. Is there a plan you have mapped out to get yourself back into contention for a place in the Proteas line-up?.

ZH: The goal will be to represent my country in any format again. I think that goals and plans should be set in the most simplest ways and the only way to get back into contention for any national team or higher honours will be  through consistent performances or sheer weight of runs. Yes, there is the goal of representing my country again. Do I believe I’m capable?  Yes, most definitely, without a doubt.  Hopefully I can earn that opportunity again sooner rather than later.

WPCA Media: It was great to have our loyal WP fans at Newlands in numbers on Sunday, do you have a special message to all your supporters?

ZH: To all those that support me and Western Province I’d just like to say thank you. We are very grateful and it’s very much appreciated and we hope that you can continue to support us going forward. To those that supported me through a pretty tough time over the last few months, my family, girlfriend, those close things that I surrounded myself by, I just want to say thank you, I really appreciate it, it means a lot.

From all of us behind the scenes at Western Province, we wish Coach Salieg, Captain Parny, Zubayr, the team and the support staff all the best for the remainder of the season.