OPENING batsman, Hamilton Masakadza has emerged as a strong favourite to take over the Zimbabwe cricket team captaincy from all-rounder Elton Chigumbura’s resignation from the post last Friday.
Chigumbura, who was in his second stint as captain, announced his resignation after leading the national cricket team to an 18-run win against Bangladesh in Khulna, which levelled the four-match T20I series.
With the Zimbabwe Cricket board expected to meet on Friday to, among other issues, take a decision on a new skipper, highly-placed cricket sources told NewsDay Sport that Masakadza would certainly be on top of the list.
The Zimbabwe Cricket Committee has the mandate to consider candidates and make recommendations to the board which has the final say.
The committee, led by Vumindaba Moyo, is expected to meet to consider reports from the party that toured Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently, while also coming up with candidates for the captaincy.
Masakadza (32) is currently one of the most experienced players in the team, with solid credentials in both the limited overs and Test matches.
Despite being dropped from the national team late last year due to poor form, he bounced back to the national side in style with impressive performances against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Masakadza also proved himself a reliable and aggressive skipper, when he led Zimbabwe in two Twenty20 Internationals against Bangladesh during Chigumbura’s absence.
“Masakadza is the most suitable person for captaincy,” an official at ZC told NewsDay Sport yesterday.
“He is widely respected as a senior player and is admired for his aggressive style. He has captained Mountaineers and has deputised both Elton Chigumbura and Brendan Taylor during their stints, so he is a tried candidate.”
Masakadza has played 29 Tests, scoring 1 712 runs, hitting four centuries and six half tons along the way, while he has played 165 one-day internationals, scoring four tons and 30 half centuries.
However, it is in the shortest version of the game where Masakadza has enjoyed more success, after amassing 1 320 runs in 44 T20Is with 10 half centuries.
His recent series haul of 222 runs in four matches against Bangladesh — a world record for most runs in aT20 bilateral series — saw him breaking into the top 10 of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty20 International Player batting rankings.
Zimbabwe does not have any confirmed international assignments before the ICC World Twenty20, which will be played in India from March 8 to April 3, although ZC is reportedly exploring the possibility of a short limited-overs series before the tournament.
The Chevrons were last month drawn in Group B of next year’s 2016 World Twenty20 cricket tournament with Hong Kong, Scotland and Afghanistan and will need to finish top of the group to reach the Super 10 stage.