Zim cricket dealt bloody blow

HARARE - Zimbabwe has been dealt a heavy blow following the suspension of pace bowler Brian Vitori by the International Cricket Council (ICC) with immediate effect while another seamer Tendai Chatara is in race against time tobe fit for tomorrow's match against Hong Kong in Bulawayo.

The two were instrumental in death bowling in Zimbabwe’s two-run nail-biting win over nemesis Afghanistan at Queens Sports Club on Tuesday in which they shared the last seven overs between themselves after Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza and captain Graeme Cremer had all exhausted their 10-over allocation.

And it was the left-arm speedster, Vitori in particular who bagged the winning wicket for Zimbabwe after he had Afghanistan batsman Shapoor Zadran caught behind by wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor for seven runs with three balls remaining in the match.

Vitori was initially suspended from bowling by the ICC in January 2016 before he was permitted to resume bowling in June the same year following an independent reassessment in which his bowling action was found to be legal.

The seamer was again reported in November 2016 during an ODI match against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo, was banned for 12 months in December after his action was found again to be illegal by an independent assessor. He underwent remedial exercise for his action in January this year at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, South Africa and was allowed to resume bowling after his action was cleared.

Yesterday, the ICC sent a communique to the effect that Vitori is suspended with immediate effect over an illegal bowling action reported in the two-run win against Afghanistan.

“Zimbabwe’s Brian Vitori has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect after the Event Panel of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 confirmed that the left-arm fast bowler uses an illegal bowling action,” wrote ICC yesterday.

“The 28-year-old was reported by the match officials following his side’s non-broadcast match against Nepal on Sunday.

“As per Article 3.6.2 of the ICC Illegal Bowling Regulations, Vitori’s bowling action was filmed in the next match he played after being reported, which was against Afghanistan on Tuesday, and the video footage of his bowling spells were provided to the Event Panel of Helen Bayne and Mark King, who are both members of the ICC Panel of Human Movement Specialists, for analysis and assessment.

“Following its review, the Event Panel concluded that Vitori employs an illegal bowling action, and, as such, in accordance with Article 6.5 of the regulations, he has been immediately suspended from bowling in international cricket.”

Zimbabwe has called up Rising Stars seamer Richard Ngarava as Vitori’s replacement with ICC consenting. Ngarava, a left armer as well is set to join fellow Rising Stars’ teammate Muzarabani in the side. He has played six One Day Internationals for the team.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe cricket team went about their business at Queens Sports Club training once yesterday morning in preparation for tomorrow’s encounter against Hong Kong at the same venue.

Cremer confirmed the morale is at its highest serve for the disturbing suspension news of Vitori and the injury to Chatara.

“We will be meeting tomorrow (today) with the coach (Heath Streak) and convenor of selectors (Tatenda Taibu) to discuss about the team for Hong Kong but at this stage there has been talk of no changes excerpt the forced one on Vitori,” Cremer told the Daily News yesterday.

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