BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Zimbabwe Cricket has named five uncapped players in the Test squad that is set to play Sri Lanka in a two-match series which begins at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
This will be the senior team’s first international assignment since the International Cricket Council (ICC) lifted its suspension on Zimbabwe last year.
It will also be Zimbabwe’s first Test assignment since a drawn series away in Bangladesh in November 2018.
All-rounder Brian Mudzinganyama’s form with the bat for Rangers on the domestic scene has helped him gate-crash into the Test squad after just three first class starts.
The 24-year-old Mudzinganyama is currently second joint top scorer in the Logan Cup having managed a century and a half century in three matches while he also claimed seven wickets.
Former Zimbabwe Under-19 star Kevin Kasuza is also primed for a national team cap alongside Mountaineers teammate Victor Nyauchi as well as Rangers pacer Charlton Tshuma and Tuskers spinner Ainsley Ndlovu after they all made it into the squad.
Kasuza, who made his first class debut as a 16-year-old in 2011, showed promise early in his career as one of the big hitters on the local front, but failed to convince selectors.
To his credit, Kasuza has scored two first class centuries and 18 fifties in 57 matches.
Ndlovu is the only specialist spin bowler in the team and is a sure bet to start against Sri Lanka after making his one-day international (ODI) debut in Netherlands last year.
Fast-bowlers Tshuma and Nyauchi come in as replacements for crooked seamer Tendai Chatara, who has been ruled out after failing to recover from a bicep injury sustained in the domestic league.
Zimbabwe will be looking to build afresh following the retirement of Hamilton Masakadza who is now the director of cricket for the country and Solomon Mire.
Some of the notable absentees in the team include newly-appointed ODI and T20 captain Chamu Chibhabha, PJ Moor, Ryan Burl and in-form veteran spinner Tendai Chisoro who has claimed a whopping 16 wickets in three Logan Cup ties.
The selectors have also rewarded Prince Masvaure, Timycen Maruma and Donald Tiripano for their top form in the first-class competition.
Apart from captain Sean Williams, Zimbabwe will be counting on the experience of Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Kyle Jarvis and Regis Chakabva as they mark their return to red-ball cricket in over a year.
The first Test is scheduled for January 19-23 and the final one is set for January 27-31 with both matches slated for Harare Sports Club.
Sri Lanka are set to arrive in Harare for the series today.
Zimbabwe Test squad
Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Kevin Kasuza, Timycen Maruma, Prince Masvaure, Brian Mudzinganyama, Carl Mumba, Ainsley Ndlovu, Victor Nyauchi, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Charlton Tshuma, Sean Williams (captain)