Sean Williams returns to England July 11, 2006

Mpofu dropped from Zimbabwe squad

A special correspondent in Harare

Christopher Mpofu has been dropped from the Zimbabwe A squad for the remaining limited-overs matches against Bangladesh A at Kwekwe Sports Club on Wednesday and Friday.

Mpofu did not make the trip to Kwekwe with the rest of the squad on Monday and his chances of making the Zimbabwe senior team for the Bangladesh tour are now slim. He struggled in the first match at Bulawayo last Thursday conceding 47 runs in his seven overs and was dropped for the following two matches.

The 20-year-old has not played for Zimbabwe since the second Test match against New Zealand at Queens in August last year. He was overlooked for Zimbabwe tour to the West Indies two months ago before being called up into the Zimbabwe A squad for the four-day matches against Bangladesh A but only played in the last match at Queens which Zimbabwe A won by seven wickets to level the three matches series 1-1.

Meanwhile, Sean Williams has opted out of the Zimbabwe A squad for the last two one-day matches against Bangladesh A and is returning to his club in England on Wednesday. He refused to travel to Kwekwe as he feared delaying his return might see him lose his contract with Clara Vale Cricket Club in Newcastle.

Williams had his hands bruised during the third match on Sunday after he dived to stop the ball and had to go off the field of play for treatment but returned to bowl. His batting did not impress as he scored only 20 runs in three innings which might be blamed on having to bat down at No. 7.

Williams was drafted into the squad at the request of Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran, who is keen to have him around for the Bangladesh matches at the end of this month. It is not clear whether Williams will be called up given his decision to return to the UK.

Meanwhile, allrounders Piet Rinke and Gregory Strydom have been drafted into the squad. The pair are expected to strengthen the batting line-up, which has been found wanting the first three matches. It is also a chance for the duo to redeem themselves after their failure against West Indies. Rinke and Strydom are big hitters of the ball but both have a weakness when facing genuine quick bowlers, which was exposed in the West Indies.

Zimbabwe A are trailing the tourists 3-0 in the series that has been reduced to five matches from the original six. With the way they played in the three matches, a 5-0 whitewash cannot be ruled out.