BY Kevin Mapasure
The Zimbabwe national cricket team’s quest for glory in their only Test match against Bangladesh away from home starting on February 22, has suffered a blow following the withdrawal of batsman and part-time spinner Sean Williams, from the squad that leaves Harare on Friday.
Williams is expecting the birth of his first child on February 20 and he will only travel to Bangladesh for the three one-day international (ODI) and the T-20 series.
Zimbabwe selectors named a largely unchanged side from the one that took on Sri Lanka in the two-match Test series in Harare recently with Kyle Jarvis, recovering from a back injury and Williams being the only absentees.
Chris Mpofu has been called up to replace Jarvis in the squad.
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) confirmed in a statement yesterday that Williams will miss the lone Test while Craig Ervine will be the stand-in skipper.
“Captain Sean Williams will miss Zimbabwe’s Test match against Bangladesh as he will remain home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child,” the statement read.
“In his absence, Craig Ervine will captain the team for the one-off match scheduled for February 22-26 in Dhaka. Apart from Williams, Zimbabwe will also have to do without experienced seamers Kyle Jarvis and Tendai Chatara who are still recovering from injury.”
Kevin Kasuza, who suffered concussion during the Sri Lanka series, having been struck on the helmet twice, has retained his place in the squad.
It is the absence of Williams that comes as a big blow for Zimbabwe considering he is one of the best players of spin in the squad as they confront spin-friendly conditions in the sub-continent.
He would have also come in handy with the ball, but it is his batting that will be missed the most.
In the last series against Sri Lanka, Williams scored the highest number of runs from the Zimbabwe side after contributing 217 runs over the two matches.
Having scored 18 and 39 runs in the first Test which Zimbabwe lost by ten wickets before his century (107) as well as his unbeaten half tone (53) in the drawn second Test.
Williams said he was confident the team could still go on and do well in Bangladesh despite his absence.
“We have a lot of experienced guys that can lead the way in Bangladesh, I am sure the boys can still go and do well that side,” he told NewsDay Sport.
“Unfortunately, I will miss the Test match as my wife and I are expecting our daughter on February 20. I will then travel for the ODIs.”
Zimbabwe Test squad
Sikandar Raza Butt, Reguis Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Kevin Kasuza, Tymcen Maruma, Prince Masvaure, Chris Mpofu, Brian Mudzinganyama, Carl Mumba, Tino Mutombodzi, Ainsley Ndlovu, Victor Nyauchi, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Charlton Tshuma