Zimbabwe batsman Hamilton Masakadza’s limited-overs career at international level is in disarray, after he was left out of the cricket squad that will tour Bangladesh this weekend.
BY Kevin Mapasure
With Zimbabwe having suffered an embarrassing 3-2 series defeat to associate side Afghanistan in Bulawayo, it was widely expected that the selectors would call on the experience of Masakadza, but the latest snub could signal the end is nigh.
The 32-year-old is expected to miss the Zim A squad that will play Bangladesh in a three-match 50-over series, but should make the squad that will play the same opponents in two four-day matches in Harare.
The development shows the selectors will now consider Masakadza for Tests only, unless he hits the runs in those two matches like Malcolm Waller and Regis Chakabva did against Ireland in a four-day match, where they each mustered back-to-back centuries.
Chakabva and Waller will be on the plane to Bangladesh on Sunday with the squad and Masakadza, as well as Vusi Sibanda, will be searching for the runs so that they can return to the top side.
This international season, Masakadza managed three-half centuries, two against New Zealand and one against Pakistan in Lahore.
Those that questioned the decision to leave him out of the squad that played against Afghanistan will probably be shocked he will not be traveling to Bangladesh.
Former captain Brendan Taylor questioned the wisdom of leaving out Masakadza from the Afghanistan series on Twitter.
“The selection issue leaving Masakadza out has potentially cost @ZimCricketv the series,” he tweeted this week.
The selectors, led by convenor Kenyon Ziel, have probably decided to look to the future.
When Zimbabwe toured Bangladesh last year, Masakadza was a top performer in the Tests, scoring 158 and 61 in the second Test, before a half-century in the ODIs.
The veteran of 151 ODIs, where he scored 4 076 runs with three centuries and 24 half-tons, is one of the most capped players of the current generation for Zimbabwe.
Like Masakadza, both Tino Mutombodzi and Brian Chari are expected to miss the trip to Bangladesh, but the bulk of the players that played against Afghanistan are likely to be in the squad.
Captain, Elton Chigumbura is expected to lead a squad that contains, among others, Chamu Chibhabha, Sikandar Raza Butt, Craig Ervine, Richmond Mutumbami, Tinashe Panyangara and Sean Williams.
Bowlers Luke Jongwe and Wellington Masakadza are expected to continue their flirtation with the national side.
Zimbabwe will play three ODIs and two T20s in Bangladesh before they return home, but Chigumbura will stay on in that country for the Bangladesh Premier League.
The team is expected to tour Bangladesh again in January, this time for a Test series where Masakadza retains a better chance of returning to the national side.