Zim drop Sibanda for World Cup

HARARE – Vusi Sibanda has paid dearly for his poor form in 2014 after he was dropped from Zimbabwe’s 15-man squad for the 2015 Cricket World Cup announced this afternoon.

Zimbabwe are in Pool B at the World Cup and will play against South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. 

The tournament which is co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand starts on February 14 with Zimbabwe taking on the Proteas the following day. 

Sibanda was the biggest omission in Zimbabwe’s squad following a forgettable tour of Bangladesh towards the end of last year where he recorded scores of 0, 21, 9, 17 and 37 in the five ODIs.

The only consolation for the batsman is that together with Malcolm Waller, John Nyumbu, Cephas Zhuwao and Brian Vitori as they have been named as the five reserves.

While the Zimbabwe selectors did not find any room in the team for Sibanda they however, recalled the trio of Chamu Chibhabha, Stuart Matsikenyeri and Tawanda Mupariwa in the squad.

The trio made a strong case to be recalled after they put in splendid performances in the first one day match between Zimbabwe A and Canada at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.

Opening batsman Chibhabha and seamer Tawanda Mupariwa were particularly outstanding with a blistering century of 155 runs and an inspired four-wicket spell respectively while Matsikenyeri continued on his comeback trail with a well-played half-century.

28-year-old right-hander Chibhabha, who last played for Zimbabwe against West Indies in the Caribbean early 2013, smashed 12 boundaries and five sixes from 146 balls in Zimbabwe A’s total of 287-8 while returnee Matsikenyeri added 50 runs to the total.

Matsikenyeri, 31, is bidding to return to the side after announcing his retirement from the game in 2013.

And in defence of 287, Mupariwa had the Canadians on the ropes early, ripping through their top order to claim Zimbabwe A’s first four wickets.

The 29-yer-old often underrated medium pace bowler, who returned home late last year from playing league cricket in Ireland, has not played international cricket in five years.    

There was also room in the squad for rehabilitated spinner Prosper Utseya, who was recently allowed to play international cricket after serving a suspension for an illegal bowling action.

Utseya will not be allowed to bowl his off-spin deliveries which leave his arsenal limited.

Opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza, who had agonisingly been left out of Zimbabwe’s previous World Cup squads, was also named in the squad today.

Sean Williams, who missed the trip to Bangladesh after a fall-out with former coach Stephen Mangongo, was also named in the squad.

Squad: Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Staurt Matsikenyeri, Solomon Mire, Tawanda Mupariwa, Tinashe Panyangara, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.

Non-travelling  reserves: John Nyumbu, Vusi Sibanda, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Cephas Zhuwao.

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