FORMER Zimbabwe cricket opening batsman Mark Vermeulen looks set to revive his international career with a call-up to the Zimbabwe A team to tour Bangladesh next month after an impressive season for Mashonaland Eagles in the Logan Cup competition.
DANIEL NHAKANISO SPORTS REPORTER
Vermeulen, who last played international cricket for Zimbabwe in 2009, was the second highest leading scorer in the country’s premier first-class cricket competition, scoring 580 runs in seven matches, at an average 64.44.
Wicketkeeper batsman Regis Chakabva was the highest run getter in the competition with 588 runs from five matches.
However, it is the rejuvenation of Vermeulen which has caught the eye of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) selection convener Givemore Makoni.
Makoni came just of saying that the 35-year-old would be selected for the Zimbabwe A’s tour of Bangladesh in June after being impressed by the player’s improved discipline and form during the just ended season.
“When we are picking a side there are two things we have to consider and that’s discipline and form. Mark has definitely passed the test in both areas this season. He played the full season for Eagles and with that he has shown a lot of discipline and secondly he has been getting the runs on a regular basis which is why he was the second highest top scorer in the Logan Cup,” Makoni said.
“He’s definitely one of the few players who have put their hands up this season with the likes of Regis Chakabva and it just shows that he is determined to revive his career. He’ll definitely be one of the players we will be considering when we pick the Zimbabwe A side.”
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The country’s second-string cricket team is set to tour Bangladesh in June, although both the Bangladesh Cricket Board and ZC are yet to confirm the schedule for the tour.
“We will only select the team once the schedule for the matches has been confirmed and I believe Zimbabwe Cricket have been communicating with Bangladesh. We might have a clear picture next week,” Makoni said.
Zimbabwe A has not toured overseas in years, which has left local players insufficiently prepared for the transition from first class cricket to international level, especially in conditions they are not used to.
Players to be selected in the side will be hoping to use the tour to impress selectors ahead of the incoming tours by South Africa and Australia in August.
Vermeulen, whose career has been dogged by disciplinary problems, played eight Tests, 43 One Day Internationals for Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2009.
In 2011, he lost his contract with Mutare-based franchise Mountaineers due to disciplinary reasons. He briefly turned to amateur golf for solace a year later before being thrown yet another cricket lifeline after Midwest Rhinos signed ahead of the 2012-13 season.
Vermeulen joined Mashonaland Eagles at the start of the 2013/14 season and immediately made an impact at the Harare-based franchise despite the dispute between Zimbabwe Cricket and the players over unpaid salaries during the early part of the season.
In 2006, Vermeulen was accused of burning down of the Cricket Academy pavilion in Harare. He was cleared of arson charges on psychiatric grounds and after a period of rehabilitation staged a remarkable international comeback in 2009.