Zimbabwe's World Cup men
The Zimbabwe selectors are due to unveil their final 15-man squad for the World Cup in West Indies next month. Cricinfo takes an in-depth look at the players with a good chance of making it.
Expected to lead Zimbabwe in his maiden World Cup appearance, Utseya's offspin improved tremendously in 2006 and he was renowned for his economy rate. His ability to keep the opposition's run rate down makes him a vital member of the bowling attack. He has however concentrated more on his bowling and seems to have neglected the batting, which had shown some signs of promise during the early days of his career.
Left-handed allrounder, he can bat anywhere in the top order. His left-arm spin can trouble world-class batsmen and he complements this with some brilliant fielding at his favourite backward point.
Strong on the front foot, Taylor was Zimbabwe's leading run-scorer with 807 runs in 2006 and fell two short of a century when he scored 98 against Bermuda during an ICC tri-series match in the West Indies. Since Tatenda Taibu's departure, Taylor has taken over the wicketkeeper's gloves and done a decent job behind the stumps, even though he is far from Taibu in terms of his overall ability.
A solid left-handed top-order player, in terms of his technique, he is one of the best of the current batsmen in the country. His major weakness is a slow strike rate, which is not suitable for the shorter version of the game, but since the country does not have any world-class batsmen there are few other options.
A complete allrounder, aggressive middle-order batsman with the ability to speed up an innings in the middle overs, he is not afraid to take the bowlers head on. He was promising as a first change bowler before a stress fracture hampered his progress, but now he is back bowling and if fully fit will give Zimbabwe more options.
Gangling fast bowler who hits the deck hard, he had a meteoric rise to the top in 2004 but his career took a nosedive last year and he spent much off it in the wilderness. That seemed a good lesson for him. When he was named in the squad which toured Bangladesh late last year he picked up four wickets in the first match on tour and has been consistent since then. He is now an automatic choice to take the new ball.
A tall pace bowler who has developed a superb yorker. From the current crop of bowlers he is the only one with genuine pace and that gives him the advantage. However, concerns have been raised over his attitude and that might cost him a place.
The oldest player in the team at 31, he is set to play his first World Cup after missing out on the 1999 and 2003 events. He is an accurate medium pacer with the ability to bowl at the death. His batting is useful and he can chip in with some runs down the order. Does not drop much that comes his way in the field.
Another medium pacer who relies on accuracy and a deceptive slower ball. He had a productive time last year and despite playing just 13 matches finished as Zimbabwe's second-highest wicket-taker with 24 to his credit, one short of Utseya who played 29 matches. He defied a knee injury on tour in the West Indies, but the problem started to take its toll when Zimbabwe toured South Africa last September. Even though he was fit for the Champions Trophy he struggled and was left out of the Bangladesh trip.
A right-handed batsman with a sound technique who can open or come in at number three. He started off his international career with a three-ball duck against New Zealand at Harare Sports Club in August 2005. He recovered from that rough start to score back-to-back half centuries when Zimbabwe toured West Indies in May 2006. He scored his third fifty against Bangladesh shortly before the World Cup, which should have been enough to guarantee him a place.
Tall pace bowler who produces inswingers, he is an automatic choice to take the new ball. It is his ability to bowl during the slog overs, when the opposition batsmen throw their bats at everything, which gives him an added advantage.
Has a fine technique and times the ball well with a liking for the cut and pull. He scored a half century on his ODI debut against West Indies at Bulawayo in November 2003, but failed to maintain consistency from there. He scored his maiden century against Bermuda during the ICC tri-series in the West Indies last May. He seems to have finally found his level as he fell seven short of his second century with an unbeaten 93 against Bangladesh at Harare.
A dashing batsman with a good technique, he gets the innings off to a flyer but tends to get himself out playing loose shots. He has four half-centuries to his credit but still averages less than 20 in ODIs and that is worrying for a main batsman who has played over 50 matches. An offspinner who can be thrown the ball to break a partnership, he is also a sharp fielder in the gully.
He was once regarded as more of a Test player but because Zimbabwe is short of quality batsmen, he has been given a run in the one-day side. He scored his maiden half-century against England at Bulawayo in November 2004 and is a vital cog in Zimbabwe's top order. Bowls useful legspin, which troubled the touring Bangladesh side in August last year.
A left-handed allrounder with the ability to accelerate an innings. He loves to drive, pull and cut and is a useful left-arm spinner who drifts and turns the ball. He was one of the few shining lights when Zimbabwe were whitewashed 5-0 by Bangladesh last year.
Left-handed aggressive batsman with a solid technique. He scored a century on his first-class debut for Midlands against Matabeleland at Kwekwe Sports Club in April 2005. He represented Zimbabwe at the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka last year. Is a useful wickekeeper but has better chances of making it as a top-order batsman. Could miss out because he has yet to be given a chance at the top.
Medium pacer who relies on swing, he has done well in the few opportunities he has had with Zimbabwe A. Might be chosen ahead of Mupariwa or Rainsford.