Zimbabwe have announced a 16-strong squad to take on United Arab Emirates at home in the first two games of a four-match one-day international series.
They will have to make do without two of their most experienced players in regular captain Hamilton Masakadza and wicket-keeper Brendan Taylor, who have both been ruled out. The former sustained a thumb injury while playing domestic cricket in February, while the latter hurt his hamstring playing in the Pakistan Super League. Vice-captain Peter Moor will lead the side in Masakadza’s absence.
Both are close to a return, having taken part in a training camp that preceded the series, but have not recovered in time to take part. Elsewhere, two uncapped players have been included: Ainsley Ndlovu, a 23-year-old left-arm spinner, and Tony Munyonga, a 20-year-old off-spinning all-rounder.
Timycen Naruma and Regis Chakabva have each been recalled after lengthy absences from the ODI set-up. The former is a batsman and part-time leg-spinner, who last represented his country in 2016, and has shot back to prominence in Zimbabwe domestic cricket. He finished fifth in the run-scorers charts in the Pro50 Championship, and top in charts for the first-class Logan Cup.
Chakabva made his Zimbabwe debut in 2008, and has recently established himself as their first-choice gloveman in Tests. However, he has won just 34 ODI caps in 12 years, the last of which came in 2015. With Taylor absent, he has won another opportunity.
“The mood in the camp has been very positive,” said stand-in captain Peter Moor. “Our preparations have been good, the last two weeks we’ve done a very in-depth, thorough camp. The boys are gearing up nicely towards the series.
“With any international match there’s always going to be a little bit of pressure, but I think the boys are embracing it and I think everybody is looking forward to the series. We’ve gone six months without an international fixture, so I think everybody is ready to go and looking forward to the challenge.”
Zimbabwe and UAE will play four ODIs between 10-16 April, with all proceeds from the third ODI going towards Cyclone Idai relief efforts.
Zimbabwe squad for first two ODIs: Peter Moor (c), Solomon Mire, Brian Chari, Regis Chakabva (wk), Sean Williams, Timycen Maruma, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Chris Mpofu, Craig Ervine, Brandon Mavuta, Ainsley Ndlovu, Tony Munyonga, Elton Chigumbura
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