Zimbabwe news May 2, 2012

Sibanda makes a comeback in Zimbabwe squad


Vusi Sibanda has made a return to Zimbabwe's national squad and was included in the 24-man training group to play South Africa in five Twenty20 matches in June. Sibanda was not considered for Zimbabwe's January tour of New Zealand after he chose to play grade cricket in Australia instead of fulfilling domestic commitments in Zimbabwe.

Although Sibanda returned home after a five-week stint for Eastern Suburbs in Sydney before the New Zealand tour, Zimbabwe Cricket's (ZC) cricket committee decided not to select him on principle. At the time, Sibanda was told that if he renewed his commitment to ZC, he would be considered again.

Sibanda finished the 2011-12 season with his local franchise, the Mid West Rhinos, for whom he played four first-class and five limited-overs matches, including a 162 against Mountaineers. Zimbabwe do not have any international assignment through the winter, but Sibanda's path back to the national team appears to be clear as he was included in the preliminary squad for the practice matches against South Africa.

"I am very pleased that the issues are done and dusted," Alan Butcher, Zimbabwe coach, told ESPNcricinfo. "Now, Vusi can move forward and put it out of his mind."

The training squad is a strong group, including many of the faces who steered Zimbabwe to a successful Test comeback in August last year. Brendan Taylor will lead the team propped up by the experience of Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya, Ray Price, Elton Chigumbura and Tatenda Taibu. Experienced seamer Chris Mpofu also makes a comeback after missing the New Zealand series with a lower back injury.

Some of the newer faces include under-19 wicketkeeper batsman Kevin Kasuza and medium-pacer Richard Muzhange. Zimbabwe have packed the training squad with bowlers as seamers Tendai Chatara and Njabula Ncube as well as legspinner Natsai Mushangwe been given the opportunity to work with the national team.

"I am very happy with the group we've got," Butcher said. "We've decided that in T20s, we should try and look more at allrounders for the side." Chigumbura, Waller, Meth and Shingi Masakadza are the four premier allrounders in the squad.

The five matches, which will take place in Harare from June 20-24, have not been given international status because they will take place outside of the FTP. They will also not be broadcast on television, given ZC's financial crunch. South Africa are hoping to use the matches as preparation for the World T20 in September and Butcher said Zimbabwe will do the same. "It gives us a chance to work on a few things and see the make up of the side," he said. "I was quite happy with the way we played T20 cricket in New Zealand and hopefully we can build on that."

Zimbabwe lost all the matches they played on the New Zealand trip, but gave the best account of themselves in the Twenty20s. "It will be good for us to play against another top side and that's exactly what South Africa are," Butcher said. "We've got a great bunch of guys who have been working hard so we're excited about what's to come."

Zimbabwe squad: Brendan Taylor (capt), Tatenda Taibu, Elton Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller, Charles Coventry, Forster Mutizwa, Graeme Cremer, Raymond Price, Tendai Chatara, Prosper Utseya, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Brian Vitori, Keegan Meth, Njabulo Ncube, Kevin Kasuza, Chamu Chibhabha, , Hamilton Masakadza, Shingi Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Richard Muzhange, Vusi Sibanda, Craig Ervine

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Graham on May 4, 2012, 16:27 GMT

    The reason the mentioned players are playing else where is because the Zim cricket board do not provide the assurances they need .....which other board in world cricket would cancel Test Matches because they have decided to do some work on their pitches!!!!!!! ...Better to play in a well managed English County set up...not their fault at all , they would love to be playing cricket For Zim ........

  • Misheck on May 4, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    come on Folks. personally i believe the local white cricket players have options to chose between England, south africa and australia via the ancestry route for permanent residents/citizenship. so its natural they hold out for those countries if that option is available. However, i must state that Balance does not want to play for Zim, but will get a "Hick moment" and they will pick him to avoid him playing for zim. He is a good player-no doubt. Glen Querl is a contender but Rolande Bernade is probably over hyped. people should forget about Sean Williams..He cant make up his mind about anything. otherwise, Zim will rise-Our Schools and club cricket are coming up good. Just 10 years ago at one point England got ranked below Zim, with all the resources they have, but have since turned it around. its not impossile...you only need 30 good player to pick from. If the selectors dont get too sentimental, there are guys out there with a real chance....

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    @Tonderai Chigudu is one of the few commenting on this post who actually knoow about zim cricket. most of the guys you want in the team don't want to play for zim or their time passed a long time ago. @Nagaraju...u don't have ray price anywhere in your team? are u serious? give me a break man.and benade is not better than chibhabha. PLEASE NO MORE TALK OF BALLANCE,FRIEND OR BLIGNAUT. But don't lie about williams. he plays hockey as well so he's in limbo. And querl hasn't been called up yet. He has just come out of nowhere. He'll be up for zim in the future

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    give me a change to select the squad for next international outing

    i would select players likes dis 1.Vusi Sibanda 2.Hamilton Masakadza 3.Gary Ballance 4.Brendan Taylor (c) 5.Malcolm Waller 6.Tatenda Taibu (wk) 7.Elton Chigumbura 8.Prosper Utseya 9.Glen Querl 10.Kyle Jarvis 11.Chris Mpofu And the subsitutes would be 12.Roland Benade 13.Craig Ervine 14.Charles Coventry 15.Keegan Meth 16.Brian Vitori

    How many of u agree with my squad..this is perfect outfit to brink back glory to the lost zimbabwe side

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    Well said @BonyongoDestroyer, nearly all the players being mentioned are either out of cricket or have opted out of playing for Zim. Its a very good squad

  • norest on May 3, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    Gary Ballance,Glen Querl,Roland Benarde,Sean Williams. The named players are not devoted to playing cricket in zim, their intrest is in england i congradulate the zim cricket board for selecting our current boys , becuase they are what we have. I see no reason we should try and convience players who have their intrest centred some where else with a country of at least 9 million peolpe we will never run out of crickting talent

  • Bonyongo on May 3, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Oh please PLEASE stop rolling out the old names everytime a Zimbabwe squad is announced!

    S Ervine - was invited for the 2011 World Cup but chose Hampshire (and outside chance with England) instead as the more viable/stable/lucrative option. Blignaut - is now 34 and despite a brief comeback in 2010 - hasn't played competitive cricket since then. Friend - hasn't played any First Class cricket since 2005. I believe he is now a pilot. Ballance - yes, he is great prosepct but he has defintivley stated that his aim is Yorkshire and England. If he fails to reach that goal in 5 years maybe he'll be persuaded back to Zimbabwe - but for now he is a modern day Graeme Hick. Querl - if were available, I suspect he'd be at least in the training squad. Right now he is with the Unicorns in England Sean Williams - the most indecisive individual in Zim cricket - hasn't played for over a year - he could be anywhere...

    Lets just focus on those who are keen, fit and available shall we?

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    Gary Ballance,Glen Querl,Roland Benarde,Sean Williams are the players doing well in the domestic cricket in this year than players who are now selected for the training camp. If Zimbabwe Cricket board has the strong intention to improve the condition of Zimbabwe cricket,then board has to select players like them. Gary Ballance handy player of both spin and pace. Captain Taylor and coach has to show the courage to select these players. Captain and coach has to recommend these players for selection like Dhoni doing. Please select at least Gary Ballance and Glen Querl tor the ICC World T-20. I am sure that these players will not be a waste and they will play a crucial role in the T-20.

  • Tom on May 2, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    does anyone know whats happened to sean williams?

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    Where is Gary Ballance,Glen Querl,Roland Benarde,Sean Williams are they not available for Zimbabwe....Wht a Waste and worst cricket board...

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