South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 August 4, 2014

Vermeulen given Test return hope

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mark Vermeulen could play his first Test in more than 10 years after being included in Zimbabwe's 25-man training squad for the visit of South Africa following his impressive form for the A team.

The last of his eight Tests came in May 2004 against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo (a game in which Sri Lanka made 713 for 3) and the last time he appeared in any international was in November 2009 in an ODI against South Africa.

That ODI appearance came shortly after he was acquitted of arson after he admitted burning down Zimbabwe's academy in 2006 but successfully argued it was because he was suffering psychiatric problems, including partial complex epilepsy, ever since he suffered a head injury during an ODI against India in 2004.

In the two recently completed four-day matches against Afghanistan, Vermeulen, who is now 35, made 107, 36 and an unbeaten 47 after beginning with a duck.

In a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, he said how he was desperate to make use of whatever time he had left in the game.

"I spent two years in court and another year-and-a-half out of the game so it was three-and-a-half years totally wasted, and at that time of my career that should not have happened.

"I didn't ever lose any love for cricket. I still think I have two or three years left in me and I think I will give it one last full go in the hope that I can play a Test again. I've become more determined because I know I don't have many years left in me. I've become more focused."

The one-off Test against South Africa starts in Harare on August 9 and that is followed by three ODIs before further 50-over matches in a triangular series also involving Australia.

Zimbabwe have recently gone down the route of split captaincy with Elton Chigumbura being given the ODI and T20 roles while Brendan Taylor has retained the Test job.

Zimbabwe training squad Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Steven Chimhamhiwa, Michael Chinouya, Luke Jongwe, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Neville Madziva, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingirai Masakadza, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Natsai M'shangwe, Cuthbert Musoko, Richmond Mutumbami, Taurai Muzarabani, John Nyumbu, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Donald Tiripano, Prosper Utseya, Mark Vermeulen, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams

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