Zimbabwe's warm-ups continue January 17, 2007

Preparations underway for South Africa A series

Warren Carne

Zimbabwe will play three warm-up one-dayers against a National Club League select side as preparations continue for the series against South Africa A and Bangladesh. The first of the three South Africa matches is on January 25 in Bulawayo, and the squad will be announced on January 23.

Ray Price could yet be in the Select side. It is still not clear whether he will make himself available for selection after his appearance for Old Hararians last Saturday. Zimbabwe's warm-ups started last week, with two teams drawn from their 30-man provisional World cup squad playing each other. National captain Prosper Utseya led one of the sides and the veteran Gary Brent the other.

"These warm-up matches are basically to wash away the holiday hang-over and recondition these guys," said national team manager Givemore Makoni. "We have picked players from the national squad, Zimbabwe A, the high-performance squad and a number of development sides, to take part in this session.

"It was refreshing to see former Zimbabwean international all rounder Douglas Hondo, whose career had been put on hold owing to a nagging stress fracture of the back injury, taking to the pitch again."

Makoni was then asked whether Hondo, the strike-bowler, will travel to the West Indies for the World Cup which gets underway in March. "What we named was a provisional 30-man squad for the ICC's administrative purposes," he said. "What that means is that if a player proves himself on the field and convinces the selectors before the deadline of the 13th of next month, then we will give him a chance. This is not just for Hondo but for all the players currently playing competitive cricket."