Pommie Mbangwa’s rise to prominence was all the more remarkable as he had no family background in cricket. A little short of primarily a line-and-length bowler, using both seam and swing, with the away-swinger his stock ball.
He spent a year at school in England, and in 1996 he went to Madras for coaching by Dennis Lillee; on his return he was offered a place in the Plascon Academy in South Africa, which he attended from April to September 1996. A surprise choice for the Zimbabwe tour of Pakistan in 1996-97, he made his Test debut after the first choice bowlers were injured but made the most of his opportunity, taking the vital wickets of Ijaz Ahmed and Wasim Akram. But thereafter he struggled to maintain consistency, and his lack of pace meant that he was easy picking for international batsmen.
He drifted in and out of the side, before disappearing from the international scene. In 2001 he started television commentary, where his quiet thoughtful views were well received, and in 2005 he ended a brief foray into coaching by commiting full-time to his TV career. As of 2008, he is one of nine Zimbabweans to have taken 30 Test wickets, and of those only Heath Streak and David Brain took them at a lower average.