Three of Zimbabwe’s most experienced batsmen, Vusi Sibanda, Sean Williams and Elton Chigumbura are set to miss the first Test against New Zealand, after they were omitted from the 15-men squad for that match to be played in Bulawayo.
by Kevin Mapasure/ Tawanda Taderera
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is set to announce the squad today led by captain, Graeme Cremer with opening batsmen, Tino Mawoyo and Brian Chari returning to the fold.
Top bowler, Tinashe Panyangara, who is still recovering from a back injury, has not been included in the Test.
Some of the bowlers in the 15-man squad include Njabulo Ncube, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara, as well as all-rounder Sikandar Raza Butt.
The selectors will retain the experience of Hamilton Masakadza, while Chamu Chibhabha will also be included.
But it is the omission of Sibanda, Williams and Chigumbura that could be the talking point in a match where Zimbabwe face a top side such as the Black Caps.
Sibanda and Williams are both likely to play in the warm-up match, which starts tomorrow at Harare Sports Club, while Chigumbura is supposedly injured.
New Zealand have no such problems, as they arrived in Harare yesterday boasting of a clean bill of health and a full complement of their top players.
The Black Caps are in high spirits and looking forward to the Test series, with the uncertainty of the series going ahead now behind them.
Batsman, Tom Litham said he was confident they would get the results they want here after their week’s training camp in Pretoria.
“It’s nice to be here finally, all of that stuff was out of our control. New Zealand Cricket are calling the shots, but it’s good to be here and we are looking forward to the warm-up game, then the two Tests in Bulawayo,” he said. “We were here last year, it was a really good tour and we expect more of the same again this year.”
Last year, New Zealand toured Zimbabwe for a limited-overs series, winning the one-day international series 2-1, with Litham scoring an unbeaten century in one of the matches.
He said that they had benefited a lot from the week’s training in South Africa and was ready for the matches.
“It was a good week, we got locked down and it was great to catch up with the guys. We got a lot of our preparation out of the way and now we focus on the three-day game and two Tests. We want to win every game, it’s nice to have everyone back and everyone seems to be fully fit. We will get down to the warm-up game and then the two Tests in Bulawayo.”
Zimbabwe probable squad for first Test:
G Cremer, H Masakadza, T Mawoyo, B Chari, C Chibhabha, P Masvaure, C Ervine, P Moore, R Mutumbami, R Chakabva, S Raza Butt, T Muzarabani, T Chatara, N Ncube, D Tiripano.