National team skipper Elton Chigumbura will make a comeback from injury after being named in the the squad which plays Bangladesh in the crucial fourth Micromax One-Day Cup cricket encounter at the Zahur Chowdhury Stadium on Friday.
Chigumbura missed the last encounter in Dhaka with a groin strain but will reclaim the captaincy from stand-in skipper Prosper Utseya for today’s match after being passed fit after training with the side in the last two training sessions.
“The captain has come through a strenuous fielding session and did well in the nets and he has basically passed himself fit. He will take charge in tomorrow’s (Friday’s) match and hopefully he will do well in the middle order batting line-up,” said coach Allan Butcher after Thursday’s training session at the match venue.
Opening batsman Chamunorwa Chibhabha has made way for Chigumbura while Hamilton Masakadza retains his place in the side and is expected to open the batting with Brendan Taylor.
The two openers’ contributions will be very crucial as they will have the task of weathering the storm from in-form spinner Abdur Razzak, who is likely to come into the bowling attack as early as the fourth over on the slow and dry wicket.
With Zimbabwe yet to finish their allotted 50 overs in the first three matches, the batting line-up will have to go the extra mile this time around and prove their worth in the team as the team gears up for the World Cup where they are likely to play in similar conditions.
So far some of the senior players like Taylor, Tatenda Taibu and Masakadza are yet to impress in this series while Regis Chakabva and Craig Ervine have done fairly well although their performances were dwarfed by tail-ender Prosper Utseya in the last match.
“We are conscious of the fact that if we don’t win tomorrow (today) then the series is gone, and the guys know that we have to win. We have devised a strategy to nullify the impact of the guy who has so far caused us the most of the problems (Abdur) Razzak. The guys have worked hard to put that into practice and hopefully they will apply that strategy in game situations.
“All we can now say is we have worked hard and we have made our plans and now all we have to do is to apply it and if we do that we can give ourselves a chance of winning this match,” said Butcher.
With analysts saying the pitch is going to be dry, and therefore offering some turn to the spinners, chief selector Alistair Campbell has again opted for a three-man spin attack of Ray Price, Graeme Cremer and Utseya.
Cremer has retained his place ahead of all-rounder Keith Dabengwa after a decent performance with both ball and bat in the last match and could have got a wicket if Taibu had not missed a stumping opportunity in his first over.
In-form seamer bowler Christopher Mpofu will lead the way for Zimbabwe with the new ball and will be supported by young Shingirai Masakadza who has been preferred ahead of Keegan Meth in that department.
All-rounder Ryan Butterworth will have to wait longer for his long-awaited debut after being overlooked again for this encounter and remains the only player in the 15-man squad not to have featured yet during this tour.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Regis Chakabva, Elton Chigumbura (captain), Craig Ervine, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Shingirai Masakadza, Raymond Price, Christopher Mpofu, 12th man Keith Dabengwa
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Raqibul Hasan, Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Naeem Islam, Suhrawadi Shuvo, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak; Shakibul Islam