Danish club Svanholm has signed recent Zimbabwe Test debutant Roy Kaia for their 2022 campaign.

Domestic toil to national selection

Kaia is one of Zimbabwe cricket’s most prolific domestic all-rounders who, after years of toil, his recent exploits resulted in his Test debut against the touring Pakistani’s.

Coming in at 30-4, Kaia top-scored for Zimbabwe, hitting 48 from 94 balls with 7 boundaries, which helped his side to a first-innings total of 176.

Prolific domestic all-rounder

His return to the national fold was, quite frankly, well overdue. Since his domestic debut back in February 2009, Kaia has racked up nearly 5,000 runs and 150 wickets across the three formats.

Following an impressive junior career, where he represented Zimbabwe Under-19s on 16 occasions, with best performances of 5-25 (v Pakistan) and 60* (from 56 balls), 4-49, and 3-23 (v South Africa), including the wicket of England Test opener Keaton Jennings (twice), Kaia broke into provincial cricket in 2009, making his first-class and List-A debuts for Centrals.

Thereafter, he has featured for the Mountaineers, before returning to the Rocks for the 2020/21 season. The all-rounder enjoyed a barnstorming 2014/15 domestic season, particularly in the one-day format, topping the Pro50 Championship run charts (381 runs at 56.20). His exploits culminated with a ODI debut for Zimbabwe against Pakistan In May 2015, but unfortunately, weather curtailed his involvement, with the game ending in a no result.

Despite dominant performances at domestic level, Kaia only recently returned to the national fold. Quite frankly, he gave selectors no choice but to pick him!

In 2019/20, he took 15 wickets at 18.20 and scored 238 runs at 26.44 in Zimbabwe’s Logan Cup. This summer, after helping Takashinga Cricket Club to the National Cricket League title, courtesy of his Man of the Tournament award, Kaia continued to shine in the Logan Cup. He was the tournament’s best performer, topping both the run and averages (min 100 runs) with 374 runs @ 62.33, and was the 5th leading wicket-taker (12 wickets at 15.50)! His exploits helped his Southern Rocks to the Logan Cup title.

Sussex League star

Not content with his domestic dominance, Kaia has also excelled abroad during two prior stints in English League cricket. After an injury-curtailed season with Cumbria League club Haverigg (2018), which included 35 wickets at 16.08, he returned to excel for Bognor Regis in the Sussex League in 2019. He was one of the division’s shining lights, taking 46 wickets at 11.37 and scoring 534 runs at 48.55.

Kaia was set to return to Bognor in both 2020 and 2021, but COVID put pay to this. However, after the ‘red list’ hit India, Garstang was quick to sign the Zimbabwean star to replace their original pro Punit Bisht. Unfortunately, given his success in the first test, Zimbabwe Cricket failed to provide a NOC, therefore, Kaia was unable to travel.

Roy now set for European adventure

Given Kaia wasn’t able to head to the UK over the past two seasons, he is now looking forward to his opportunity in 2022 having recently signed with Svanholm Cricketklub for their Danish campaign.