Jongwe, Nyumbu rewarded

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket rookie, Luke Jongwe is poised to play his maiden ODI match after he was named in the 13-man squad to face South Africa this morning at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

The 19-year-old all-rounder accounted himself well with both bat and ball during last month’s Zimbabwe A home series against associate nation Afghanistan.

Although the locals disappointed against Afghanistan, Jongwe was one of the success stories to emerge from the disappointing series.

All-rounder Neville Madziva, 23, will also be looking to get his first ODI cap while off-spinner John Nyumbu’s is likely to be rewarded for heroic five wickets against the Proteas in Zimbabwe’s nine-wicket defeat in a one-off Test at Harare Sports Club.

The 29-year-old off-spinner, who plays Tuskers in the domestic franchise league, was also included in Zimbabwe’s 13-man squad and is in line to make his ODI debut on his home turf.

The only casualties from the initial 17-man training squad are seamers Brian Vitori and Tinashe Panyangara together with leg-spinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi and batsman Sikandar Raza Butt.

The top order batsman, Raza Butt has just recovered from a fractured thumb but is still to get match fit.

Zimbabwe coach Steve Mangongo said he has rewarded those players who have been performing at training and everyone in the final team is there simply on merit.

“I haven’t changed the open policy system; a system that allows for those that have distinguished themselves well getting rewarded,” he said.

“Luke Jongwe was the most consistent Zimbabwean player against Afghanistan and he is being rewarded for his hard work.

“John Nyumbu has been a fringe player for a while now but he let his performance speak for itself in the Test match against the best Test playing team hence there’s no better way to gauge someone’s performance than to give them the opportunity to play.”

Zimbabwe struggled against Afghanistan drawing the four-day One Day International series 2-2. The team would need to front-up and be at their level best against a strong South African line squad led by experienced skipper AB de Villiers.

The Proteas will however, be missing the services of their deadly seam trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, who all have been rested for the three-match ODI series.

The three are set to join the rest of the squad during next week’s triangular series that will also feature Australia at Harare Sports Club.

“Obviously anyone picked to play in their squad is good enough to represent South Africa and we would rather be worrying about our own game plan” Mangongo said of the absence of South Africa’s top three seamers.

“It’s still work in progress though we are inspired with some of the positives we got from the Test defeat, this is a different ball all together. We are mindful of the fact that we are coming from a disappointing ODI series against Afghanistan where we played badly and the truth of the matter is that we have to up our game in all the departments in order to mount a serious challenge against South Africa.”

Meanwhile, South Africa have decided not to send a replacement for injured seamer Beuran Hendricks as the squad is overwhelmed with pace bowlers.

The Proteas already have quicks in the form of Marchant de Lange, Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell and the uncapped Mthokozisi Shezi at their disposal.

Zimbabwe ODI Squad: Elton Chigumbura (Captain), Luke Jongwe, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingi Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami, John Nyumbu, Vusi Sibanda, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.

South Africa Squad: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi

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