John Traicos: Zimbabwean Cricketer

Chirundu.com would like to wish Athanasios John Traicos a happy birthday. He was born today (17 May) in 1947 in Zagazig, Egypt.

A former Zimbabwean cricketer who played in Zimbabwe’s first test match and also represented South Africa at international level. He was primarily an off spin bowler, and is one of a small number of cricketers to have played at the highest level for more than one country.

Whilst Traicos was born in Egypt, he grew up in Rhodesia (Now Zimbabwe) and played when Rhodesia was regarded as a “province” within the South African domestic cricket setup.

His father Tryphon Traicos was born in Lemnos (Greece) in 1900 and at the age of 12 he was sent to Egypt to work in his uncle’s business. A year after John was born the Traicos family migrated to Fort Victoria (now Masvingo) in Southern Rhodesia in September 1948. This obviously produced a major shift in their cultural influence and it was out with the tavli and in with the cricket.

Traicos started playing cricket, inspired by his cousin Peter and coached by Neil Jardine, a former rugby international and then at Natal University by the great South African all-rounder Trevor Goddard.

His progress as an off-spinner was rapid. He was selected for the South African Universities tour of England in 1967 and then made his first-class debut for Rhodesia against Transvaal B in Salisbury the following year.

South African Test Player
John Traicos made his Test match debut for the South African cricket team against Australia at Durban in February 1970.

There are many people who know a thing or two about cricket say that the South African side which destroyed Australia 4-0 in the 1969/1970 series was one of the finest of all-time. Great players included Barry Richards, Graeme Pollock, Eddie Barlow, Ali Bacher, Peter Pollock, Lee Irvine and Mike Procter.

Unfortunately for John, not long after his debut, South Africa were banned from international cricket because of the apartheid regime and this meant the end of his international career until 1980 when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean Cricketer
Traicos continued to play for Zimbabwe after the country gained its independence, and appeared for them in the 1982, 1986 and 1990 ICC Trophy tournaments. He also represented Zimbabwe in the 1983 Cricket World Cup, and was an important part of the side which inflicted a shock defeat on Australia.

Zimbabwe were raised to Test status in 1992, and Traicos was selected for the country’s inaugural Test match which took place in Harare at the Harare Sports Club against India. So at the age of 45 years and 304 days, Traicos returned to Test cricket and he finished with great bowling figures of 5-86, his victims including Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammed Azharuddin and Kapil Dev.

The John Traicos File

  • Born: 17 May 1947 in Zagazig, Egypt
  • Tests: 7 in total,  3 for South Africa (1970) and 4 for Zimbabwe (1992-3)
  • Bowling: 18 wickets (avge 42.72)
  • Best: 5-86 v India, Harare 1993
  • ODIs: 27 for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Cricket Books

Amazon, have a bunch of Zim related cricket books, including "Blood, Sweat And Treason" by Henry Olonga, “A History of the Rhodesia and Zimbabwe National Sides” by Jonty Winch who traces the history of cricket in this country (Zimbabwe) from the first recorded game played in 1890, through two World Wars and a guerilla war, to the comparative peace of post-independence and eventual world recognition in the 1980s when Zimbabwe was able to send a side to England to take part in the I.C.C. Trophy competition which it won.

There is also the Autobiography of another great Zimbabwean cricket coach Duncan Fletcher “Behind the Shades”

UK Shoppers USA: Amazon.com

Zimbabwe Cricket on Amazon.com

At the moment Amazon UK don’t have as wide selection as the US site, but I have ordered books from the US and had them delivered to the UK with no problems.

UK Shoppers UK: Amazon.co.uk
Zimbabwe Cricket on Amazon.co.uk

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