Mpumelelo Pommie Mbangwa Biography: Early Life | Education | Cricket Career | Commentary Career | Personal Life
Mpumelelo Mbangwa, better known as Pommie, is a former Zimbabwean cricketer and a current cricket commentator. He was a right-arm fast bowler who played 15 Tests and 29 ODIs for Zimbabwe between 1996 and 2002. He is also one of the most respected and popular voices in the cricket world, known for his eloquence, insight and humour.
Early Life and Education
Pommie was born on 26 June 1976 in Plumtree, a town in Matabeleland, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He had no family background in cricket but developed a passion for the game at the age of ten when he was introduced to it at the Rhodes Estate Preparatory School. He won a place in the school team at the age of 11 and also played for the Matabeleland primary schools team in his final year at junior school.
Pommie then moved to Milton High School in Bulawayo, where he continued to excel in cricket, as well as rugby. His housemaster, Ian Kemp, took a special interest in him and helped him to groom his bowling action. He also showed some promise as a batsman, scoring 113 in an inter-school match at the age of 14, which remains his highest score in any class of cricket.
In 1994, he was offered a cricket scholarship by Dean Close School, an English school from Cheltenham, after impressing them with his four-wicket haul in a match against them. He spent two years at Dean Close, where he improved his skills and gained exposure to different conditions and cultures.
Mpumelelo Mbangwa Domestic Career
Pommie made his first-class debut for Matabeleland in September 1995 at the age of 19. He soon established himself as one of the leading bowlers in the domestic circuit, taking 126 wickets in 62 matches at an average of 28.41. He also played for Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, his home club.
He was part of the Matabeleland team that won the Logan Cup, Zimbabwe’s premier domestic competition, in 1998/99 and 1999/2000. He also captained the side in some matches, showing his leadership qualities.
Pommie made his international debut for Zimbabwe in November 1996 in an ODI against Pakistan in Lahore. He took two wickets on debut but could not prevent his team from losing by six wickets.
Pommie made his Test debut later that month in the second Test against Pakistan in Faisalabad. He bowled well in his first innings, taking three wickets for 23 runs, but was less effective in the second innings.
He became a regular member of the Zimbabwean team in both formats, forming a potent pace attack with Heath Streak and Henry Olonga. Pommie was known for his accuracy, discipline and stamina, as well as his ability to swing the ball both ways.
Some of his finest moments as a player include:
- Taking four wickets for 37 runs against India in an ODI in Sharjah in April 1998, helping Zimbabwe to win by six runs.
- Taking six wickets for 14 runs against Mashonaland Country Districts in a first-class match in Bulawayo in October 1998, his best bowling figures in any format.
- Taking three wickets for 23 runs against Pakistan in his maiden Test innings in Faisalabad in November 1996.
- Taking three wickets for 29 runs against England in an ODI in Harare in October 2001, helping Zimbabwe to win by six wickets.
Pommie played his last Test match against New Zealand in September 2000 and his last ODI against England in September 2002. He was dropped from the international side after the 2002 Champions Trophy due to poor form and injuries. He finished his international career with 32 Test wickets and 11 ODI wickets.
Mpumelelo Pommie Mbangwa Commentary Career
After being dropped from the international side, Pommie took up work as a cricket commentator for television. He started with SuperSport and then moved to ESPN Star Sports. He has also worked for Sky Sports, Ten Sports and Sony Pictures Networks India.
Pommie has covered various tournaments and series around the world, including the ICC Cricket World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy, the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Ashes and many more. He is widely regarded as one of the best international cricket commentators, and he is also the leading cricket commentator from Zimbabwe.
Pommie is known for his eloquence, insight and humour, as well as his distinctive voice and accent. He often uses witty phrases and anecdotes to entertain the viewers.
Mpumelelo Mbangwa has also written columns and articles for various publications, such as ESPNcricinfo, The Times of India and The Herald. He has also hosted shows and podcasts on cricket topics.
Mpumelelo Pommie Mbangwa Personal Life
Pommie is married to Natalie Mbangwa, a former Miss Zimbabwe and a model. They have two children, a son and a daughter. They live in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Pommie is a devout Christian and a philanthropist. He supports various causes and charities, such as the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy, the Mpumelelo Mbangwa Foundation, the Smile Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
He is also an avid golfer and a music lover. He enjoys listening to jazz, soul and gospel music. He is also fond of travelling and exploring new places.