Grant Flower to make international return
Grant Flower, the 39-year-old batsman, has made a shock international return more than six years after he last played for Zimbabwe, being named in the squads for the tour of South Africa next month.
In August, Flower had returned to Zimbabwe after six seasons with Essex, to be the batting coach of the national team and the player-coach of the Mashonaland Eagles franchise.
He was one of Zimbabwe's leading players during his 12-year international career, in which he has so far played 67 Tests (3457 runs at 29.54) and 219 ODIs (6536 runs at 33.69). In 2004, he became one of the key players to leave in an exodus following Heath Streak's removal from the captaincy.
"It (international cricket) is a different pressure," Flower told the Associated Press. "I just had a good season with Essex, playing some of my best one-day cricket with them, but international cricket is a step up."
Essex were relegated to the second division of the County Championship, but Flower's 527 runs at 65.87 were pivotal to the county reaching the semi-final of the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition.
He admitted that the dual role of player and batting coach could prove to be tricky. "There can be a conflict of interests with my role as the batting coach if I can't turn things around as a player," Flower said. "It can be awkward if I don't. If it works, however, it can come out in positive fashion."
Zimbabwe's three ODIs and two Twenty20s against South Africa are their only confirmed international assignments before the World Cup starts in February next year.
Flower is the latest of several high-profile players who have become part of Zimbabwe cricket this season. Fast bowlers Allan Donald and Jason Gillespie have taken domestic coaching assignments, and former New Zealand allrounder Chris Harris has been put in charge of the national Under-19 team.
Twenty20 squad Elton Chigumbura(capt), Hamilton Masakadza , Chamu Chibhabha, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Shingirai Masakadza, Ian Nicolson, Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Charles Coventry, Ed Rainsford, Chris Mpofu, Keith Dabengwa, Grant Flower, Brendan Taylor.
ODI Squad: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Hamilton Masakadza , Chamu Chibhabha, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Shingirai Masakadza, Ian Nicolson, Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Ed Rainsford, Chris Mpofu, Keith Dabengwa, Grant Flower, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor.