Zim sweat over WC squad selection

HARARE - Zimbabwe national cricket team selectors face an anxious wait before naming their final World Cup 15-member squad, set to be announced tomorrow.

The transition from the era of sacked coach Stephen Mangongo to Australian Dav Whatmore has contributed to the indecisiveness, with reports suggesting that one of Whatmore’s conditions for accepting the Zimbabwe coaching job was that the best possible players be picked at any given time.

But with the World Cup squad deadline just 24 hours away and a new coach having just recently started work, time is definitely not on Zimbabwe’s side.

The other sticking point is that Zimbabwe has already submitted to the ICC their 30-man provisional squad, from which the final 15-man travelling party will be chosen.

But further queries revealed that a team can still be allowed to select from outside the provisional squad if a certain player “makes himself available and force the hand of the selectors.”

And during a press conference to officially unveil Whatmore last week, the 60-year-old former Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh coach singled out ex-Zimbabwe pace spearhead Kyle Jarvis as the biggest loss to the side in recent times.

Jarvis who quit international cricket in 2013 at the height of discontent in Zimbabwean cricket to join English county side Lancashire, and still at a relatively young age of 25, is seen by many as a potential valuable addition to the current side should he decide to revive his international career.

The Harare-born right-arm pace bowler was recently back home in Zimbabwe playing for the Midwest Rhinos franchise as an overseas professional.

Other players Whatmore is said to have made inquiry over are the trio of former captain Tatenda Taibu, leg-spinner Graeme Cremer and swing bowler Keagan Meth.

Whatmore’s predecessor, Mangongo, who was fired by ZC last week following a humiliating whitewash defeat in Bangladesh coupled by dressing room unrest over his management style, was accused of selection bias towards underperforming players mostly from his Takashinga Cricket Club, where he is club president.

Although ZC decided to retain Mangongo’s right-hand man, convenor of selectors Givemore Makoni, reports are rife the chief selectors’ powers have been clipped — meaning that the coach, captain and other members of the selection panel will also make significant contributions.

The 2015 World Cup is being jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.

ZIM PROVISIONAL SQUAD

Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Luke Jongwe, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingirai Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Tinotenda Mawoyo,  Solomon Mire, Peter Moor, Tawanda Mupariwa, Natsai M’shangwe, Cuthbert Musoko, Richmond Mutumbami, John Nyumbu, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusi Sibanda, Brendan Taylor,  Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams, Cephas Zhuwao.

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