Sibanda leads Zim A on Bangladesh tour

HARARE - Out-of-form Zimbabwe batsman Vusi Sibanda has been handed a lifeline after being named captain of the A side leaving for Bangladesh today for two unofficial Tests and three one-day games.

Sibanda, who struggled for runs recently against South Africa and Australia, will lead the 20-man squad on the three-week tour of the subcontinent, set to run between September 14 and the first week of October.

35-year-old batsman Mark Vermeulen, who made a comeback to the Zimbabwe Test side for last month’s sole Test against South Africa, will be hoping to cement his place in the national side with solid performances for Zim A in Bangladesh.

The squad also marks the return of medium-fast bowler Tawanda Mupariwa, who recently returned home from playing league cricket in Northern Ireland.

Mupariwa will also be aiming to bounce back to the national side after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Other fringe national players in the squad are Regis Chakabva, Timycen Maruma, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Forster Mutizwa and Tino Mawoyo.

Emerging all-rounders Luke Jongwe and Neville Madziva, who were thrown in the deep end during the recent tours here by South Africa and Australia, are also being sent to Bangladesh to continue honing their skills.

Meanwhile, Walter Chawaguta has been axed as Zimbabwe A coach on the eve of the tour. Chawaguta, who has also coached the Zimbabwe national side, has been replaced by former Masvingo Sports Club and Southerns batsman Mufaro Chiturumani.

Chawaguta will now concentrate on his role as Zimbabwe Under-19 coach.

“Chawaguta is the Under-19 coach, the Zim A coaching post is assigned as and when there is a tour or home series,” Zimbabwe Cricket spokesman Lovemore Banda explained to the Daily News yesterday.

Chiturumani had been recently acting as the national team’s assistant coach, working with head coach Stephen Mangongo, and Banda said:

“There was a suggestion that a lot of players in the Zim A are players who had just been with the national team and it was felt the national assistant coach was best placed to travel to Bangladesh with the (Zim A) team.”

Chiturumani played two first-class games for the then Southerns (now Southern Rocks) as an opening batsman in 2008, making his debut in April before playing his last game in May the same year. He bowed out with a high score of seven runs and combined eight in his two-match career at an average of 2.00.

Zim A squad: Vusi Sibanda (captain), Regis Chakabva, Brian Chari, Mike Chinouya, Joylord Gumbie, Luke Jongwe, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Neville Madziva, Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa, Timycen Maruma, Shingi Masakadza, Tino Mawoyo, Kudakwashe Munyede, Tawanda Mupariwa, Forster Mutizwa, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Richmond Mutumbami, Taurai Muzarabani, Mark Vermeulen, Malcolm Waller.

Head coach: Mufaro Chiturumani, Assistant coach/manager: Shepherd Makunura, Bowling coach: Douglas Hondo, Physiotherapist: Mutandwa Nyamadzawo.

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