Few people in Zimbabwe cricket circles were surprised when Craig Ervine found his way into Zimbabwe colours. A stylish left-handed middle order batsman, Ervine hails from a family with a strong cricketing tradition - his father and uncle both played first-class cricket, albeit briefly, in the late 1970s, his older brother Sean had a promising fledgling international career with Zimbabwe before heading to England to become a reliable cog in Hampshire's middle order, and even younger brother Ryan has turned out for the Southern Rocks franchise on occasion.
But it is somewhat surprising that Ervine is playing cricket at all, as a freak accident in his early teens - he slipped and fell on a broken glass in his family's living room - required a three-hour reconstructive operation to his right hand. The injury had been so severe that amputation was considered an option in the initial diagnosis. Ervine's recovery from the injury focused his ambitions, and mid-way through his A level studies at Lomagundi College on the outskirts of Chinhoyi he won a place at the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy. Ervine soon found his way into the Midlands, and Zimbabwe Under-19 and A sides before heading to England to expand his horizons and improve his game.
After spells with English clubs Bexhill and Lordhood, and a stint with Irish club Lisburn in Belfast, Ervine returned to Zimbabwe and took up a contract with Masvingo-based franchise Southern Rocks. Ervine was their leading run-scorer in the 2009-10 Logan Cup with 575 runs at 33.82, and topped their one-day averages as well with 245 runs at 81.66, including a high score of 111 not out. His returns in the domestic Twenty20 competition were more modest, as he scored 68 runs in three innings, including an unbeaten 62, but he scored at the impressive strike rate of 154.54. A call-up to Zimbabwe's squad for the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean followed, but although Ervine's contribution in a 114-run partnership with Elton Chigumbura was vital to Zimbabwe's victory over Australia in the tournament warm-ups, he could do nothing to stem the team's collapse in their crucial group stage encounter with New Zealand.