By Kevin Mapasure
The Zimbabwe national cricket team suffered a double blow after batsmen Craig Ervine and Wesley Madhevere were ruled out of the first Test against Pakistan starting on Thursday at the Harare Sports Club.
The two were excluded in a squad announced yesterday.
Ervine is struggling with a calf problem while Madhevere, who scored a half century in the final T20 against the Asian opponents on Sunday, has a hamstring injury.
Luke Jongwe was included in the Test side, while Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza retained their places in the red ball cricket side.
Roy Kaia is part of the squad together with Tendai Chisoro.
Ervine missed the last two T20s and was tipped to have fully recovered for the Tests, but he has failed to recover on time.
Captain Sean Williams, who missed the second T20 as a precautionary measure, but returned for the final match on Sunday, will lead the Test side.
Star batsman Brendan Taylor, who missed the last two Tests against Afghanistan, is back to pull on his whites against Pakistan. With Sikandar Raza also out through injury, Zimbabwe will be thin on experience in the batting front.
Masvaure and Kasuza look set to continue with their opening combination while Regis Chakabva looks on course to continue with the keeping duties.
Kasuza scored a century in the first Test against Afghanistan and will be expecting to harvest more runs on his home patch. Jongwe, who took nine wickets across the three T20s, is in the line to make his Test debut.
Zimbabwe and Pakistan last played Test cricket against each other in 2013 at Harare Sports Club where the hosts recorded a historic victory by 24 runs. They will be looking to continue in that vein as the two clash at the same venue.
They have contested 17 Tests with Zimbabwe winning three while Pakistan dominated by claiming ten victories.
Zimbabwe Test squad: S Williams (captain), R Chakabva, T Chisoro, Chivanga, L Jongwe, R Kaia, K Kasuza, W Masakadza, P Masvaure, T Musakanda, B Muzarabani, R Ngarava, V Nyauchi, M Shumba, B Taylor, D Tiripano
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