Cremer for Pakistan tour

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LEG SPINNER Graeme Cremer has been added to Zimbabwe’s cricket squad for the for the upcoming limited-overs series in Pakistan starting on April 22.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The 28-year-old was not included in the original travelling party because of lack of match fitness as he has not played any domestic cricket since quitting the sport for golf two years ago.

Cremer, who has been training with the national squad, however, seems to have proved his fitness and is one of the seven new faces from the side which featured at the Cricket World Cup.

Charles Coventry, who last played for Zimbabwe four years ago has also been recalled together with Vusi Sibanda, Richmond Mutumbami, Brian Vitori and Chris Mpofu, while uncapped Roy Kaia looks well poised to earn his maiden cap in the subcontinent.

After being dropped for the World Cup due to poor form, Sibanda has been rewarded for his strong domestic form, while Vitori and Mpofu are expected to bolster the bowling department following Tendai Chatara’s leg injury, which will sideline him for six months.

All the players in the amended squad released yesterday have already been training with the exception of Coventry, who, according to national team coach Dav Whatmore, is expected to join the rest of the squad today.

“Coventry should be joining camp tomorrow (today). He has been having trouble getting time off from his employment. We fully understand his situation and appreciate all the effort he has put in to come back and we look forward to have him with the rest of the squad,” Whatmore told NewsDay Sport yesterday.

Whatmore, who recently signed a four-year deal with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) after leading the side at the World Cup, said he had been impressed with the fitness level of the squad members.

“The preparations have been pretty good, thus far it’s been like before the World Cup where we didn’t have much time, but we have been making the most of the time we have.

“The initial part of the camp we have focused a lot more on fitness and I must say I’m happy with the way the boys have applied themselves. The Bulawayo guys had already been working on their fitness with Wayne James, but we are now working together as a group. We now have a fitness trainer in place and this has made it easy for us to make some progress in that department,” he said.

“After the fitness tests, we moved to centre-wicket practice and the skills levels have been good, but there’s always room for improvement. It’s something that we are going to continue working hard on in the long run.”
According to the tour itinerary released by ZC yesterday, the national cricket team leaves the country for Dubai en route to Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday.

They arrive in Lahore on May 19, the day after Pakistan announce their squad, where they will play two Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals (ODI) between May 22 and 31 at the Gaddafi Stadium.

The T20s will be played on May 22 and 24, and the ODIs on May 26, 29 and 31.

The tour, which has been criticised by the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association, will make Zimbabwe the first ICC full member nation to tour Pakistan since March 2009, when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Zimbabwe Squad: Elton Chigumbura (captain), Sikandar Raza, Charles Coventry, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Roy Kaia, Hamilton Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Tawanda Mupariwa, Richmond Mutumbami, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusi Sibanda, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Sean Williams, Graeme Cremer

Technical Staff: Head Coach — Davenell Whatmore, Bowling Coach — Douglas Hondo, Batting Coach — Andy Waller, Team Analyst — Stanley Chioza, Fitness Trainer — Sean Bell, Physiotherapist — Anesu Mupotaringa, Team Manager – Christian Chiketa