April 16, 2003

Burridge lose Brent as all-rounder picked for Zimbabwe

Burridge's worst fears have been confirmed by Zimbabwe's selection of all-rounder Gary Brent in their squad for the One-Day International Cricket Series against England and South Africa this summer.

The recently relegated Southern Electric Premier League club have signed up Brent to boost their prospects of an immediate return to Division 1.

But Brent's call up for the triangular ODI Series against England and South Africa means the 27-year old all-rounder will not now be playing for them in the Premier League.

"I had a chat with Gary about the situation last night and he's confirmed he won't now be flying to the UK until June 6," explained Burridge skipper Roger Cawte.

"Zimbabwe have a quite a few 4-day matches lined up before they play the two Tests against England at Lord's and in Durham, and we initially assumed Gary wouldn't be involved in them.

"We thought Zimbabwe coach Geoff Marsh would want him playing over here and experiencing English conditions, but the risk of injury was too great and now it seems he won't be joining us at all.it's all very much up in the air at the moment," he added.

Brent, 27, has played four Tests and 39 ODIs for Zimbabwe since 1996.

But missed out on selection for the recent World Cup tournament in South Africa.

Burridge are now working on a contingency plan, but are unlikely to make an annoucement about Brent's would-be successor until after the Easter weekend.

"We'll keep our options open, but obviously we'd all like to see Gary back at Burridge, where he's had three previously successful seasons in the past," Cawte added.