Time to go out and play

HARARE - Now that the squads have been announced to tour the West Indies, we can finally focus on what lies ahead of us, and discuss the players who will be representing the country.

 It has been many years since Zimbabwe embarked on a tour as long as the one they are about to undertake, three ODI's two Twenty20 internationals, as well as two Test matches means that the team will be away from home for over a month, and it will be very interesting to see how the tour will affect the players.

 The first observation is that Zimbabwe have decided to concentrate their bowling attack around spin which comes as no real surprise, given the fact that the West Indies struggle against spin bowling.

 Another somewhat strange observation is the inclusion of Timycen Maruma. This is a bit of a perplexing selection.

 The question is, will Maruma be going as a specialist all-rounder, and if so, will he be going as a batting or bowling all-rounder?

 This is a calculated risk as Maruma has always been regarded as a bowling all-rounder, and not a batting all-rounder. He also has to understand that the time has come for him to use all the variation he has in his bowling armoury.

 Maruma is regarded as a leg-break bowler, and yet, he consistently bowls the googly.

 Another slight question mark is the inclusion of Chamu Chabhabha. The only logical answer is that the selectors chose him mainly for the T20 matches.

 This is understandable, because, although the West Indian pitches are often low and slow, Chabhabha prefers the ball coming onto the bat.

 He loves taking on the fast bowlers, and the Windies certainly don't lack in that area.

 But, if Chibhabha is going to play as the country’s premier all-rounder, he is going to be made to understand in no uncertain terms that it will be expected from him to bowl as well as bat.

 Chamu has been a decent, but reluctant bowler throughout his career, and the time has come for somebody to crack the whip and force him to take up the responsibility of bowling, and be serious and mature about it as well.

 The rest of the team is pretty much as expected, and it is good to see that Tendai Chatara as well as Tinotenda Mutombodzi has been included as well.

 This will be Chatara's second trip to the islands, and, he will be hoping to take it one step further and earn his first Test cap this time round.

 Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza would have had some sort of preparation, thanks to their participation in the on-going Bangladesh premier league.

 This will more than likely be another baptism of fire, but, it will be a tour that the team will benefit from, and closer to the time, it is going to be interesting to see what combination Zimbabwe settle on as they prepare to take on the ever-improving West Indies. - Dean du Plessis

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