Zim Test squad: No real surprises

HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) sprung no major surprises when they announced a 20-man squad to face Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series which starts on October 29.

Pace bowler Carl Mumba deservedly got a call up, while the impressive Tarisai Musakanda has also been drafted into the squad, and will almost certainly earn his first Test cap on the 29th.

Musakanda celebrated his call up with a fighting 87 in the second innings of the second and final unofficial Test match against Pakistan A at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on a pitch which reportedly was beginning to take sharp turn on the final day.

And although the spinners got the better of Zimbabwe A who lost seven wickets in the post lunch session to hand Pakistan an eight-wicket win, Musakanda once again showed a fine combination of attack and defence before succumbing to what was an inevitable outcome.

One player who feel bitterly disappointed, and rightly so is Victor Nyauchi, who has bowled his heart out for the A side, got results and promptly been overlooked, which makes one question what the selectors are looking for when picking a team.

Both Brian Vitori and veteran seamer Chris Mpofu have been recalled to the squad, and the selectors would probably say that both Vitori and Mpofu have a bit of extra pace, and more importantly a bit of Test experience.

Both points are valid ones, but it is equally as important to remember that neither Mpofu nor Vitori have played a great deal of cricket, unlike Mumba and Nyauchi who despite their lack of Test experience have had considerably more time out in the middle.

Vitori has also undergone a change of bowling action, and although he has been cleared by the ICC to bowl, the left armer has had very little time to grow in confidence, and the jump from four-day cricket to Test cricket which will also be televised may possibly unnerve Vitori.

If he does come through and deliver the goods, it would be something to remember and will yet again serve as a timely reminder that Vitori has courage and determination that most of us only dream of.

Another slightly questionable selection is the inclusion of Hamilton Masakadza who has been desperately out of form for some time now.

His scores of three and 15 against New Zealand, as well as 32 and 0 against Pakistan A suggest that the normally reliable Test batsman is going through a terrible slump at the moment, but his vast experience and the fact that he is currently the player with the most Test caps will probably be his saving grace, but whether he will be able to bat his way back into form will be another stern examination of character and determination.

Brian Chari who most feel was hard done by in the second Test against New Zealand has also found a rich vein of form with consistent scores in the one-day matches against Pakistan A, as well as a magnificent 100 in the first innings of the second four-day game against Pakistan A.

Unfortunately, both four-day games were dominated by the bat, and it would have been nice to have seen the batsmen being given a sterner examination on more sporting pitches, such as the pitch at country club.

Be that as it may, PJ Moor, Chari and Sean Williams who got 100s will be happy with their personal performances leading up to the series.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.