Mutumbami to miss rest of tri-series
Zimbabwe were dealt another blow in the ongoing tri-series against South Africa and Australia as their wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after breaking his right arm.
Mutumbami was hit by a ball during nets on Thursday, and he sustained a hairline fracture to a bone in his right forearm. He will require a minimum of three weeks to recover, which should see him just fit for Zimbabwe's tour of Bangladesh in October.
In the immediate term, Mutumbami's injury leaves Zimbabwe without their first-choice gloveman and cuts down the number of options they have in the batting line-up. Mutumbami was the preferred keeper over Brendan Taylor, who has since had to take over behind the stumps, as the coach Stephen Mangongo was in favour of using what he called a "specialist" in the position.
Before the series, Mangongo explained Taylor would no longer be used as a keeper because he needed to concentrate on his batting. "Wicketkeeping is a key role and I need the best man for the job, not a part-timer, and that is the route we are going to do," he had said. "Brendan is going to specialise in his batting, not keeping. That's his role. We will look at a specialist keeper to do the job. "Despite the presence of another gloveman in the squad in Regis Chakabva, Zimbabwe went back to Taylor when Mutumbami became unavailable.
The hosts were required to make another change to their line-up in Mutumbami absence, with Malcolm Waller replacing him in the middle-order for Friday's match against South Africa.
Mutumbami had been used as an opener in the three ODIs against South Africa which preceded the triangular series, but following scores of just 13, 12 and 0, he was moved down to No.7 for the game against Australia. He did not find much luck there either, making only 11 as Zimbabwe's need to bulk up their batting grew more pressing.
Mutumbami is the second Zimbabwe player to be ruled out of the series. Seamer Tinashe Panyangara was suspended from the squad on Wednesday because of what ZC called "indiscipline" on the eve of Zimbabwe's first match against Australia on Monday. Panyangara allegedly sent his team-mates a video via WhatsApp of Mitchell Johnson sending down a barrage of short balls to England's batsmen during the recently-concluded Ashes series. The Zimbabwe team management ruled that Panyangara's behaviour was disruptive to the team's morale.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent