Eric Dusingizimana is the National cricket team captain who last year etched into history by setting the world record for batting in the net.
The 30 year old civil engineer plays for Right Guards Cricket Club and has been playing cricket since 2006, a game that he acknowledges is increasingly becoming popular in the country.
He talked to Sunday Magazine’s Lydia Atieno on his passion for cricket, life as a world record holder and whether he can pursue a professional career as a cricketer.
What motivated you to play cricket, a game that was not so popular in Rwanda?
The game of cricket was introduced in the country in 2000 and got recognition in ICC (International Cricket Council), as an affiliated member in 2003. I started playing it in 2006, by then, I was still in high school. I was attracted to the game because of the close relationship the game has with the subject combination I was studying then.
I once walked past a place where the game was being played; I noticed how the backman reacted to that speed and the bouncing ball. According to my physics understanding, the whole action was purely physics. This drove me to the game and that’s how I found myself in cricket.
When I joined University, I enrolled in civil engineering but continued playing cricket and in 2008, I was selected to the national team which I later captained 3 years later.
Also, coming from a family where sport is not a new thing has contributed to my engagement in this kind of sport.
Speaking of your family, are you all sports people?
Some of my siblings are also in sports. One of my brothers has been playing in the national handball team for a while my two sisters play cricket and are also in the cricket national women team. I think we all inherited this from our father who won many trophies in marathon races and other sports. I would also say that we managed to be successful in sports because of the support from our mother who encouraged us to follow our dreams.
It has been one year down the line since you won the cricket world.
Record for batting, what has life been like for a world record holder?
I would say a lot have changed. For instance, I have gotten a lot of attention from the public; it’s easier to get services that I could not have gotten before. The record also helped us to raise money to build a state of art cricket stadium in Rwanda
Since I am a civil engineer, I was lucky that my passion and profession were able to complement each other as I was chosen to be part of the construction as a manager.
Have you considered pursuing a career as a professional cricket player?
I don’t think that is possible at the moment considering my age and the talent pool out there but I am confident that very soon we will have Rwandans pursuing professional careers as cricketers.
Did you get any sponsorship deals or endorsements after becoming a world record holder?
I wouldn’t call them sponsors but rather donors. Since I broke the record, I have become a Bralirwa legend ambassador. I have been put on billboards across the country and I have been earning money from that.
I was also invited to England to meet my Idol, Joe Root, who plays in the England national player. I was also able to train with the national team of England.
What do you do outside of cricket?
I like swimming, socializing and travelling which I enjoy most.
What do you think needs to be done to improve the game of cricket in Rwanda?
There is a lot to be done, but at the moment, I will say we are lucky because one of the most important thing that was lucking in the game of cricket is a cricket stadium, which is now expected to be completed in October.
Cricket is among the fastest growing sports in Rwanda, what is now required is to create awareness of the game outside Kigali. A lot of schools that play cricket are just around Kigali. For now we have 15 clubs from the previous two we had. We need to create more especially outside Kigali.