Wicketkeeper batsman Tatenda Taibu and veteran off-spinner Raymond Price are battling for fitness, with only two days remaining before the national cricket team’s first match in the unofficial tri-nation Twenty20 tournament which begins at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Zimbabwe will take on Bangladesh in the first match of the T20 series before taking on South Africa two-days later at the same venue.
As a precautionary measure Price and Taibu, who are arguably the most experienced members of the squad, were left out of the 15-man select side which will take on the Tigers in a 50-over warm-up match at the Interfin Country Club on Friday.
“Raymond Price and Tatenda Taibu will sit out the warm-up match due to injury. Price is struggling to overcome a persistent back injury while Tatenda Taibu has a bruised left index finger,” said Zimbabwe Cricket’s head of media and communications Shingai Rhuhwaya.
The injury to Taibu and Price, who have 15 and 17 T20 caps respectively, could be a major blow to Zimbabwe’s hopes in the series.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh cricket team arrived in the country last night ahead of what will be English coach Richard Pybus’ first assignment since recently being appointed the Tigers’ coach.
“We are very grateful to have been given an opportunity to play here in what is now a triangular series.
“It’s an opportunity for all sides to look at different combinations and players we could use in the buildup to the World T20. South Africa have left out some of their senior players while Zimbabwe have called in a large squad.”
Pybus however cautioned that although on paper it was an unofficial series, his charges would be taking the tri-series very seriously.
“We will definitely not be taking the series lightly although it is unofficial, but I still believe it will be an extremely competitive triangular. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will be looking at themselves as underdogs and South Africa are heavy favourites,” he said.
Zimbabwe Select side:
Vusi Sibanda, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Elton Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller, Brendan Taylor, Forster Mutizwa, Regis Chakabva, Brian Vitori, Graeme Cremer, Natsai Mushangwe, Tendai Chatara, Richard Muzhange, Keegan Meth
Mushfiqur Rahim (Captain), Mahmudullah Riyad (Vice-Captain), Tamim Iqbal, Junaed Siddiqui, Anamul Haque, Mohammad Ashraful, Jahurul Islam, Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Mohammad Elias, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Forhad Reza, Nazmul Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Abul Hasan.