|Born||Stuart Vance Carlisle|
May 10, 1972
Stuart Vance Carlisle (born 10 May 1972) is a former Zimbabwean cricketer who played 37 Test matches and 111 One Day Internationals for the Zimbabwe National Cricket Team. He captained the side briefly, leading them in six Tests and 12 ODIs, and achieving a 2–3 result in an ODI series in India.
Stuart Carlisle was born on 10 May 1972 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Carlisle was Zimbabwe‘s utility batsman — he has played in all positions from No 1 to No 7 in the batting order. Perhaps this was one of the reasons he did not score as many runs as he should have, given the instability in his batting position. However, in the handful good knocks that he featured in, he was a pure joy.
Unknown to many, Carlisle went to university and has a degree in marketing, and has become a businessman post retirement from cricket. He revealed to the Zimbabwe Open magazine that he was offered to play in Australia for six months after his retirement, but chose against it because his oldest daughter was due to begin school and “the continued travelling would be unsettling for her.”
Today, Carlisle runs Absolute Sports, a golf store attached to the Royal Harare Golf Club, which hosts the Zimbabwe Open. Carlisle’s company also sponsors young Zimbabwean golfer Ryan Cairns, who finished the 2013 edition of the tournament in joint-seventh position..
One of Carlisle’s finest innings came in the 2001 triangular series in Australia where he almost took Zimbabwe home with a century under pressure, after the hosts had put on 303 on the board. Zimbabwe were to fall just two runs short of what would have been an incredible chase, which was majorly due to Carlisle, who scored 119 off 45 balls. Earlier in the tournament, he had pummeled Shane Warne for a couple of half-a-dozens and had invited the foul-mouthed wrath of the bowler, which was caught by the stump microphone and broadcast around the world, much to Warne’s embarrassment.
In Test matches, Carlisle’s stand-out innings was against India at the Harare Sports Club in 2001. Zimbabwe were set a target of 157 and didn’t have the services of Andy Flower, who was injured. Carlisle walked in at 25 for one and stayed till the end, even as wickets fell steadily around him. Eventually, Zimbabwe won by four wickets with Carlisle remaining unbeaten on 62, while no other batsman in the team passed 20.
Unfortunately for him and Zimbabwe Cricket, these little gems were too rare for a batsman of his technique. A rather ordinary tally of 2,740 runs in 111 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) at 27.67 and 1,615 runs in 37 Tests at 26.91 leaves you baffled. However, as mentioned earlier, external factors related with the country of his birth were also responsible in some ways for the average figures.
Carlisle became the Zimbabwean captain in early 2002. After losing five out of six Test matches he lost the captaincy and was not picked for the 2003 Cricket World Cup. A right batsman, he was often shuffled up and down the order. He made his maiden Test century in October 2003, against Australia at Sydney.
Zimbabwe’s struggles under the late former President Robert Mugabe are well documented. As the political tumult grew in the country during the late nineties and early noughties, it also began to rub off on non-political areas like sport. In 2002, Carlisle was entrusted with the captaincy of the national team by default after Brian Murphy, Guy Whittall, Heath Streak and Alistair Campbell had all been removed from the post one after the other. As was expected, it was never going to be a cakewalk as Zimbabwe lost five out of six matches under him. Streak’s reappointment as captain following that came as a relief for Carlisle. However, the ramifications of his brief stint as captain included poor form that led him to being dropped from the squad for the 2003 World Cup at home.
In 2004, he along with Sean Ervine set the record for the highest 4th wicket partnership for Zimbabwe in ODIS (202). After and unbeaten 103 in a Test against Bangladesh in early 2004, he became involved in the dispute with the Zimbabwean Cricket Board over the controversial sacking of Heath Streak. As one of the rebel players he refused to play for Zimbabwe and after a brief return in 2005 he had had enough of the internal struggles and retired from all forms of the game.
- Jaideep Vaidya, , Cricket Country, Published: 23 August, 2014, Accessed: 27 November, 2019