Rising star Schadendorf learns to manage pressure of expectations 

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Harare – Rising Zimbabwean cricket star Dane Schadendorf is doing his best to manage the burden of expectations to being one of one of the young players to watch at English county side Nottinghamshire.

The 21-year-old exceptionally talented wicketkeeper batter has made 22 first-team appearances for Nottinghamshire since making his debut in July 2021.

Schadendorf was particularly impressive for the 2nd XI in 2022, scoring a competition-leading 1,001 runs at 45.50, including four centuries and four half-centuries in 12 Championship matches.

With the gloves, he completed 31 catches and four stumpings.

His impressive displays earned him a two-year contract extension with Nottinghamshire in December last year which will see him staying at Trent Bridge until at least the end of the 2024 season.

Dane Schadendorf

The former St John’s College pupil will be eager to make the next step this season by making an impact in the first team and he is being careful not to promise too much.

When it comes to expectations, Schadendorf has adopted a new mindset following a leaner 2022 One Day Cup return than he’d have liked – despite finishing as the top runscorer in the Second XI Championship.

“Last year, I put too much pressure on myself and that’s why I didn’t I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Schadendorf said in an interview with Nottinghamshire’s official website.

“I really want to do well this year, but it’s more a case of letting it happen instead of trying to force it. That is kind of the way I’ve been going about it all season. I try to take the pressure off myself knowing that I’ve done the work, and the cricket should take care of itself as a result.

“Once you get that confidence, it makes it easier when you are out there. You don’t stress as much.”

A desire to banish any angst helped Schadendorf see Notts over the line in their most recent four-wicket win against Leicestershire Foxes.

The wicketkeeper-batter struck four boundaries in six balls to steer his side to victory after three wickets in eight overs had given the hosts a sniff at Grace Road.

That aggressive approach is the marker of how the Outlaws intend to play, Schadendorf says, with a depth of talent which enables such an approach.

“We can certainly look to be more aggressive, because we bat all the way down to… well, Tom Loten opens in the twos, and he has been at 10, so we can afford to be more aggressive all the way through if the opportunities are there,” he said.

“Personally, it affected me last year moving around the order. That wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own; I should have been clear with the coaches about what I needed to do and where I felt comfortable.

“But this year, Having that solid spot at seven, I know what I’m doing every game so that definitely makes it easier.”

And the gloveman is looking forward to playing at Welbeck, too, a ground which has become a favourable home-from-home for Notts in List A cricket, with six wins from the seven games played to a conclusion.

“We have won there a lot in the past,” he said.

“We beat Leicestershire there quite convincingly last year and qualified for the quarter-final by beating Surrey, so they’re good memories.

“It’s a case of getting used to the pitch – it is not going to be flat, and you’ll have to work hard for runs, but with the bowling attack we’ve got at the moment, that could work in our favour.

“Not many, if any, of the Hampshire guys will have played there, so that is a small thing we can look to take advantage of.”

A school boy star, Dane represented Zimbabwe at U13 level and was selected as a reserve for the Zimbabwe U19 squad to contest the 2018 ICC U19 World Cup in New Zealand at just 15 years old.

It was a great honour for young Schadendorf and his family as his older brother Jayden, was already a member of the U19 national side.

He didn’t get on the field in 2018 but he was again selected for the 2020 tournament in South Africa, still just 17 years old.

Schadendorf joined Nottinghamshire in December 2020 on an initial two year contract following his solid performances for Zimbabwe at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in South Africa.

Schadendorf became a viral hit in the warm-up matches ahead of the tournament, thanks to a leg side stumping in a fixture against New Zealand that evoked MS Dhoni in his prime.

He also made 81 against eventual finalists India in a warm-up match, though was less successful in the World Cup itself with 138 runs in nine innings.

Schadendorf was born in Harare, but qualifies as a local player in English cricket thanks to his British passport.

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