ZIMBABWE will have a full-strength group to choose from in the Twenty20 International series against minnows Namibia after selectors named their 18-player squad for the five-match series which gets underway at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
The Chevrons will be aiming to avoid any slipups against an improving Namibia side, as they look to get some momentum ahead of the eight-team ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B to be played in Harare in July.
Zimbabwe will be joined in the qualifiers by Hong Kong, Jersey, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Uganda and the United States with the top two teams qualifying for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 to be staged in Australia.
While the main focus is now on the upcoming qualifiers, the immediate task will be to win the series against Namibia which starts on Tuesday ahead of the remaining matches on Thursday, Saturday, May 22 and May 24 at the same venue.
Veteran left-handed batsman Craig Ervine will captain Zimbabwe’s 18-member squad includes fellow experienced players such as Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva and Tendai Chatara.
The selectors have also rewarded players who did well during the Zimbabwe A’s tour of Nepal with Tony Munyonga, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Luke Jongwe, Brandon Mavuta, Bradley Evans, Innocent Kaia and Victor Nyauchi all being drafted into the quad to face Namibia.
The only notable absentees from the squad are fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani, who is away at the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) and off-spinner Wellington Masakadza, who misses out due to injury.
Zimbabwe Cricket’s Convener of Selectors David Mutendera believes they have come up with a balanced squad comprising of experienced players and up and coming talent.
“We had to get all the best available players for this series, from the experienced Raza to the upcoming Tony Munyonga,” Mutendera said.
“The coach asked for a squad of 18 and we backed him as this will not only allow for the rotation of players but will also give us an opportunity to have a look in at those players who have been on the sidelines ahead of the qualifiers. We need to hit the ground running as we cannot afford missing out on the T20 World Cup, with the Namibia series presenting us with a great opportunity to fine-tune our team for the qualifiers,” Mutendera said.
Spectators will be allowed into Queens Sports Club to watch the T20I series between Zimbabwe and Namibia, provided they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The gate charges are US$2 for access to the stadium’s grandstand and US$1 for the rest of the ground.
The matches will be live-streamed on Zimbabwe Cricket’s YouTube channel and website, while ball-by-ball coverage will also be available on the Zimbabwe Cricket mobile app.
Craig Ervine (captain), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Tanaka Chivanga, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Ernest Masuku, Brandon Mavuta, Tony Munyonga, Richmond Mutumbami, Victor Nyauchi, Milton Shumba, Donald Tiripano