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Injuries rule Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor out of UAE ODI series

Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza celebrate a wicket AFP

Zimbabwe will be without the services of captain Hamilton Masakadza and premier batsman Brendan Taylor for the four-match ODI series at home against UAE, starting April 10. Both the players were ruled out because of injuries: Masakadza has a problem in his left thumb, while Taylor is recovering from a right-calf muscle tear. Peter Moor will lead Zimbabwe in Masakadza's absence.

Masakadza picked up his injury during a domestic game in February, while Taylor sustained tore his muscle during a stint with Lahore Qalandars in the PSL 2019. Both had been named in the training squad of 27, but Zimbabwe Cricket said the two had "not recovered in time to play a part at least in the first two matches of the series".

Taylor told ESPNcricinfo that he was focused on recovering in time for the tours of Ireland and the Netherlands.

"The calf injury is coming on well. It was a grade-two tear, but it's been about seven weeks so I might have another one or two (weeks) to go," Taylor said. "I haven't put much strain on it. These things, I'm told, you don't want to rush them because if it does happen again then it's ten to 12 weeks.

"The goal was to be ready for Afghanistan, but that didn't happen and now there's not a lot of pressure to be ready for this series. I'm probably going to be more focused on the Ireland and Netherlands series leading up to the (2020 T20 World Cup) qualifiers. So that's it. Obviously I'd like to play, but I've been advised not to play. It's a bit frustrating, but it is what it is."

Zimbabwe's squad for their first international series since November 2018 includes uncapped left-arm spinner Ainsley Ndlovu and offspinner Tony Munyonga. Also in the squad are Regis Chakabva and Timycen Maruma, who have not played ODIs since November 2015 and June 2016 respectively.

All matches in the series will be played at Harare Sports Club with ticket proceeds from the third match, on April 14, going towards Cyclone Idai disaster relief efforts.