AMH is an independent media house free from political ties or outside influence. We have four newspapers: The Zimbabwe Independent, a business weekly published every Friday, The Standard, a weekly published every Sunday, and Southern and NewsDay, our daily newspapers. Each has an online edition.

Raza to miss Ireland T20 series, Ballance set for debut

Sikandar Raza

Zimbabwe Cricket’s man of the moment Sikandar Raza has been ruled out of the three-match T20I series against Ireland next month, while former England batsman Gary Ballance is in line to earn his Chevrons debut after being named in the squad announced yesterday.

Raza, who is in the contention for the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year, ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year and ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year awards, was expected to make his first appearance for Zimbabwe since the T20 World Cup in Australia during the upcoming series.

Zimbabwe Cricket, however, revealed that the 36-year-old all-rounder would not feature in the series against Ireland after they granted him permission to play franchise cricket elsewhere.

Raza, in particular, has been in demand by T20 franchises around the world after his brilliant form in the T20 World Cup, where he scored 219 runs and picked up 10 wickets in eight matches.

After recent stints in the Abu Dhabi T10 League in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Lanka Premier League in Sri Lanka and the Nepal T20 League, Raza is expected to feature in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)

The 43-day-long BPL will get underway tomorrow just a week before Zimbabwe’s scheduled opening T20I match against Ireland at Harare Sports Club.

Raza is also scheduled to represent Dubai Capitals in the inaugural ILT20 which gets underway on January 13 in the UAE.

The Chevrons, who are led by Craig Ervine, began their camp yesterday in preparation for the three-match T20I series against Ireland.

This will be followed by a one-day international series that runs from January 18-23 in Harare.

They will then rest for 11 days before the two Test matches against the West Indies between February 4 and February 16 in Bulawayo.

Raza is one of the four notable absentees in the Zimbabwe squad for the three-match T20I series against Ireland, which is the Chevrons’ first international assignment since the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia last year.

The other omissions are the trio of Regis Chakabva, who is now based in Australia, Milton Shumba and Blessing Muzarabani, who is still recovering from a quadriceps injury.

The most notable addition, however, is that of former England player Ballance, who recently signed a two-year deal with Zimbabwe Cricket to play domestic and international cricket.

Ballance was released from Yorkshire after a lengthy stint that began in 2007 and returned to Zimbabwe to represent his home country.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Zimbabwe Cricket and can’t wait to start work with some great coaches and talented players,” Ballance said at the time.

“The opportunity to represent Zimbabwe has given me a new-found passion and excitement for the game.”

Ballance, who is now in the country, trained with his new teammates for the first time as the Chevrons started their camp at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

The T20I series will be played at Harare Sports Club with matches on January 12, 14 and 15.

This is followed by an ODI series which will be played at the same venue on January 18, 21 and 23.

The date for the second ODI was moved from January 20 to 21.

Squad: Craig Ervine (captain), Gary Ballance, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Clive Madande, Wessley Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Sean Williams

Related Topics