Key injuries cause major setbacks

Posted by admin on March 23, 2008

Injuries to Sean Williams, Vusi Sibanda and Gary Brent leave Zimbabwe in a difficult position ahead of the Standard Bank Pro20 series in South Africa.

Williams is still suffering from a swollen ankle. His physio work is expected to last another 2 weeks before he is likely to return to the side. Gary Brent fractured his little finger taking a catch in the recently played MTN series and is out for 2 weeks, while Vusi Sibanda has inflammation of his hip and will be reassessed after 3 weeks of gentle fitness work.

The squad features a couple of new faces from the group that beat Australia last year, namely spinner Ray Price, pace bowler Taurai Muzarabani and batsman Regis Chakabva. The 13 man squad consists of: Prosper Utseya (captain), Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Regis Chakabva, Keith Dabengwa, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Tawanda Mupariwa, Taurai Muzarabani, Raymond Price, Tatenda Taibu and Brendan Taylor (likely wk).

Zimbabwe team management are expected to employ similar tactics in this tournament to those that they did in the ICC World Twenty20, including letting Brendan Taylor keep wickets to get the athletic Tatenda Taibu and Regis Chakabva field. After a stellar performance in the Metropolitan Bank Twenty20 competition, Hamilton Masakadza is expected to open the batting, while it would seem likely Brendan Taylor will open with him due to his success against Australia and England in the shorter format.

The middle order seems strong, consisting of Chakabva, Matsikenyeri, Dabengwa and Chigumbura, all players who are known to hit big when needed to.

The return of Elton Chigumbura adds some much needed pace to the bowling attack, with he and Mupariwa expected to open the bowling, with a combination of Masakadza and Chibhabha playing the role of 5th bowler, leaving Utseya and Price to take the remaining overs.

Zimbabwe XI (likely): Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha, Tatenda Taibu, Regis Chakabva, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Keith Dabengwa, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya, Tawanda Mupariwa, Raymond Price