Zimbabwe news March 26, 2010

Blignaut included in squad for Twenty20

Cricinfo staff
22

Andy Blignaut is set to return to international cricket after a hiatus of almost five years after he was included in Zimbabwe's squad for the World Twenty20 in West Indies.

His inclusion completes a remarkable return by Blignaut, 31, who was one of the 'rebel' cricketers whose row with Zimbabwe's cricket board resulted in the sacking of 15 senior white players in 2004. He subsequently returned to the side, and had been tipped as a potential national captain, but then walked out again in 2006 over after a disagreement about money owed to him by the board.

Blignaut hinted at a possible comeback in January this year, and after his fitness had been assessed by the Matabeleland Tuskers franchise he returned to action in Zimbabwe's domestic Twenty20 competition, striking 111 runs in four innings at an average of 37.00 and a strike rate of 133.73, including a matchwinning half century on his return to competitive cricket. He was then included in a provisional squad for Zimbabwe's tour of the West Indies, but didn't make the final touring party.

The 15-man group also includes batsman Craig Ervine, the younger brother of former national player Sean Ervine, who has returned to Zimbabwe but is still tied to a contract with Hampshire. Shingi Masakadza and Stuart Matsikenyeri, who were both members of the Zimbabwe side that toured the West Indies in March, have not been included in the squad.

Masakadza played in only one international game on the tour, taking two wickets in the final over of the second ODI in Guyana to set up a tense two-run win on his international debut. Despite good returns in domestic cricket, Matsikenyeri was woefully out of form on the tour, scoring just 42 runs in six innings.

Chamu Chibhabha also returns to the national set-up, being reward for his sparkling Twenty20 form for the Southern Rocks. He was the second-highest run scorer in this season's Twenty20 tournament, racking up 230 runs at 57.50, including three fifties.

With Zimbabwe seeking to bolster their sparse fast-bowling resources as they build towards a return to Test cricket, Tendai Chatara, the Zimbabwe Under-19 opening bowler, will travel with the team to the West Indies to gain some experience of cricket at higher levels, and will play in a four-day match against West Indies A, starting on April 16, before returning home.

The World Twenty20 tournament, which begins on April 30, will also see new coach Alan Butcher take control of the side for the first time. Zimbabwe are grouped with Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the competition, and begin their campaign with a game against the Sri Lankans at the Providence stadium in Guyana on May 3.

Zimbabwe squad Prosper Utseya (capt), Brendan Taylor, Charles Coventry, Andy Blignaut, Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Greg Lamb, Elton Chigumbura, Vusi Sibanda, Ray Price, Graeme Cremer, Chamu Chibhabha, Chris Mpofu, Timycen Maruma, Craig Ervine

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 4evaZim on March 31, 2010, 2:56 GMT

    this is good for Zim cricket.really great news.Ervine(Sean)should come back and play soon once his contract issues are sorted

  • AnotherFlowerFan on March 30, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    Andy Blignaut wil be good for our middle order. My worry is our opening batsmen and the lack of pace in our attack. Vusi is not as good as I thought he was these days. Masakadza struggled in the last two matches in West Indies.

  • norsh on March 29, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Iam happy to see blignaut included, but i was also hoping for some t20/t20 specialists i.e Duffin and vermeulen who can help push scores up. Where is jarvis?

  • Troyd on March 27, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    Good to see Blignaut back / as a batter anyways. Hoping for at least one match winning innings from him, but all depends on what the targets are. As a bowler hes no real threat. Even when he was playing regularly, and in his prime he was expensive, having said that, which of our bowlers are a threat? Lamb, Price, Usteya control reasonably well, Cremer does go for the wicket a little more and all perform admirably but not the line/up of a team that will make great inroads. I hope they throw caution to the wind and swing the bat, in the likes of Taibu, Masakadza, Blignaut, Taylor and Chigumbura we have more hope of getting our pride/saving win chasing down a total than defending it

  • zimbos_05 on March 27, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    great to see andy back in the frame. i think the changes made were good. hopefully sean ervine can come back sooner rather than later. hes a definite champion and zims really need him.

  • Stone_wall on March 27, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    @Rakesh Sudan, dude what are u on about? Did u watch the Windies series, Lamb was probably Zim's best bowler in the Windies and really economical which is more important in T20 cricket. Sibanda whilst not having the greatest of tours has still performed really well domestically so am in agreement on that call. I hope that Blignaut bowls though, he hasn't bowled at all this season, so is he going as a specialist batsman I wonder? Ervine is bound by a Kolpak deal and Williams hasn't really performed so a fair call

  • Sher1987 on March 27, 2010, 3:25 GMT

    Welcome back Andrew Blignaut :-) He's my most favourite all-rounder from Zimbabwe after the retirement of Heath Streak, Sean Ervine & Doug Marillear !

  • L.Pearce on March 27, 2010, 2:35 GMT

    if so reliant on spinners then forget pace altogether. unfortunate for kyle jarvis though

  • L.Pearce on March 27, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    Marillier, S.Ervine, Williams, Dabengwa, Mupariwa, Rainsford ? all MIA

  • on March 27, 2010, 1:37 GMT

    The return of Blignaut is just what the doctor ordered for Zimbabwe cricket. Their middle order just needed an experienced all-rounder to support the fast-rising star Chigumbura ( although he has 6 years experience, Blignaut has 11). Furthermore Zimbabwe needed to add some more class and experience to the small pace attack of Mpofu and Chigumbura. With Blignaut around, the spinners will not feel overburdened with the task of wicket-taking all the time.

  • 4evaZim on March 31, 2010, 2:56 GMT

    this is good for Zim cricket.really great news.Ervine(Sean)should come back and play soon once his contract issues are sorted

  • AnotherFlowerFan on March 30, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    Andy Blignaut wil be good for our middle order. My worry is our opening batsmen and the lack of pace in our attack. Vusi is not as good as I thought he was these days. Masakadza struggled in the last two matches in West Indies.

  • norsh on March 29, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Iam happy to see blignaut included, but i was also hoping for some t20/t20 specialists i.e Duffin and vermeulen who can help push scores up. Where is jarvis?

  • Troyd on March 27, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    Good to see Blignaut back / as a batter anyways. Hoping for at least one match winning innings from him, but all depends on what the targets are. As a bowler hes no real threat. Even when he was playing regularly, and in his prime he was expensive, having said that, which of our bowlers are a threat? Lamb, Price, Usteya control reasonably well, Cremer does go for the wicket a little more and all perform admirably but not the line/up of a team that will make great inroads. I hope they throw caution to the wind and swing the bat, in the likes of Taibu, Masakadza, Blignaut, Taylor and Chigumbura we have more hope of getting our pride/saving win chasing down a total than defending it

  • zimbos_05 on March 27, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    great to see andy back in the frame. i think the changes made were good. hopefully sean ervine can come back sooner rather than later. hes a definite champion and zims really need him.

  • Stone_wall on March 27, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    @Rakesh Sudan, dude what are u on about? Did u watch the Windies series, Lamb was probably Zim's best bowler in the Windies and really economical which is more important in T20 cricket. Sibanda whilst not having the greatest of tours has still performed really well domestically so am in agreement on that call. I hope that Blignaut bowls though, he hasn't bowled at all this season, so is he going as a specialist batsman I wonder? Ervine is bound by a Kolpak deal and Williams hasn't really performed so a fair call

  • Sher1987 on March 27, 2010, 3:25 GMT

    Welcome back Andrew Blignaut :-) He's my most favourite all-rounder from Zimbabwe after the retirement of Heath Streak, Sean Ervine & Doug Marillear !

  • L.Pearce on March 27, 2010, 2:35 GMT

    if so reliant on spinners then forget pace altogether. unfortunate for kyle jarvis though

  • L.Pearce on March 27, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    Marillier, S.Ervine, Williams, Dabengwa, Mupariwa, Rainsford ? all MIA

  • on March 27, 2010, 1:37 GMT

    The return of Blignaut is just what the doctor ordered for Zimbabwe cricket. Their middle order just needed an experienced all-rounder to support the fast-rising star Chigumbura ( although he has 6 years experience, Blignaut has 11). Furthermore Zimbabwe needed to add some more class and experience to the small pace attack of Mpofu and Chigumbura. With Blignaut around, the spinners will not feel overburdened with the task of wicket-taking all the time.

  • Simbag on March 26, 2010, 22:53 GMT

    This is kind of a sad sight, this over reliance on spin is rather pathetic, whatever happened to the likes of Eddie Rainsford, he is a decent bowler, McCullum is gonna have a party with the bowlers we have. Watching the Windies tour was painful to put it lightly.

  • SettingSun on March 26, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    @seansie78 - 10 to 15 years left? How many international players do you know recent that have played to 46?

  • on March 26, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    Zimbabwe squad Prosper Utseya (capt), Brendan Taylor, Charles Coventry, Andy Blignaut, Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Greg Lamb, Elton Chigumbura, Vusi Sibanda, Ray Price, Graeme Cremer, Chamu Chibhabha, Chris Mpofu, Timycen Maruma, Craig Ervine WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT SIBANDA AND LAMB?ARE THEY INDISPENSABLE? DID THEY SHINE AS SUPERSTARS IN WINDIES?WHERE ARE S. ERVINE AND WILLIAMS?I AM AFRAID EITHER THEY ARE NOT FIT,OR THEY DONT QUALIFY THE RACIST STANDARDS SET BY PETER CHINGOKA.

  • seansie78 on March 26, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    good to see the tormentor back in zim colors , at 31 he has a good 10-15 yeras ahead .pity though about shingi, i thought hw showed a lot of maturity in the west indies , coming back to seal the win , stuart though was all out of it, he needs a time out.shows that no one is indispensible now , stuart scored well against south africa not too long ago in a 188 partnership with taibu , who i hpe will get over his urge to sweep at everything spinner s throw at him . this should be the crossing for zimbabwe , a good start should settle the nerves . like to see a replay against the wwest indies , should be a cracker

  • on March 26, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    O gr8 news!!! Always wanted to c him in action. A gr8 all-rounder, infact amongst the best in business. Hope that he fares well on his comeback!!!

  • on March 26, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    Just hoping that Zimbabwe get back to their former glory. I was really encouraged by their display in West Indies and hope that they can continue the good work in the T20WC

  • FlowerPower on March 26, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    Good team, although I dont think Vusi is a T20 player (or ODI for that matter) he is more a Test player. Dabengwa is a mixing alrounder. Blignaut is a good addition, and I dont think he bowls that much anymore.

    1. Chamu Chibaba (did very well during the local 20 20) 2. Hamilton Masakadza (Zim's premier batsman) 3. Brandon Taylor 4. Taibu 5. Blignaut 6. Coventry 7. Chigumbura 8. Creamer/Maruma 9. Utseya 10. Price 11. Mpofu

  • Sachit1979 on March 26, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    5 spinners (Prosper Utseya, Greg Lamb, Ray Price, Graeme Cremer, Timycen Maruma) and only 2 medium pacers (Elton Chigumbura and Chris Mpofu), it is really an unorthodox composition. Elton has got more recognition as a hard hitting batsman on the other hand Mpofu has been ineffective so far in T20 Cricket. Andy Blignaut is also there to aid but he had not been seen as bowler in recent times. Chamu could also bowl with some military medium pace but that is really not going to make an impact in the format where batsmen behave as slaughters. Pace bowling attack is a serious serious worry for Zimbabwe with this kind of squad.

    In spin department also, they could have picked experienced Doug Marillier ahead of Timycen Maruma because as a batsman he has some unconventional shots that could suit well for T20 and moreover he is much more controlled and consistent with his off breaks.

  • mandi on March 26, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    biggy hiters come again beware all bowlers

  • Vivek.Bhandari on March 26, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    Great news...hope other discards too come back...those who are currently playing, that is...

  • RamaBasa on March 26, 2010, 12:47 GMT

    Nice to see him back..very entertaining player ;)

  • SettingSun on March 26, 2010, 12:33 GMT

    Is Blignaut only a batsman these days? I followed the Zimbabwe 20-20 season and didn't see any bowling figures for him. They could really do with him bowling again considering the lack of seamers they have these days.

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  • SettingSun on March 26, 2010, 12:33 GMT

    Is Blignaut only a batsman these days? I followed the Zimbabwe 20-20 season and didn't see any bowling figures for him. They could really do with him bowling again considering the lack of seamers they have these days.

  • RamaBasa on March 26, 2010, 12:47 GMT

    Nice to see him back..very entertaining player ;)

  • Vivek.Bhandari on March 26, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    Great news...hope other discards too come back...those who are currently playing, that is...

  • mandi on March 26, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    biggy hiters come again beware all bowlers

  • Sachit1979 on March 26, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    5 spinners (Prosper Utseya, Greg Lamb, Ray Price, Graeme Cremer, Timycen Maruma) and only 2 medium pacers (Elton Chigumbura and Chris Mpofu), it is really an unorthodox composition. Elton has got more recognition as a hard hitting batsman on the other hand Mpofu has been ineffective so far in T20 Cricket. Andy Blignaut is also there to aid but he had not been seen as bowler in recent times. Chamu could also bowl with some military medium pace but that is really not going to make an impact in the format where batsmen behave as slaughters. Pace bowling attack is a serious serious worry for Zimbabwe with this kind of squad.

    In spin department also, they could have picked experienced Doug Marillier ahead of Timycen Maruma because as a batsman he has some unconventional shots that could suit well for T20 and moreover he is much more controlled and consistent with his off breaks.

  • FlowerPower on March 26, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    Good team, although I dont think Vusi is a T20 player (or ODI for that matter) he is more a Test player. Dabengwa is a mixing alrounder. Blignaut is a good addition, and I dont think he bowls that much anymore.

    1. Chamu Chibaba (did very well during the local 20 20) 2. Hamilton Masakadza (Zim's premier batsman) 3. Brandon Taylor 4. Taibu 5. Blignaut 6. Coventry 7. Chigumbura 8. Creamer/Maruma 9. Utseya 10. Price 11. Mpofu

  • on March 26, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    Just hoping that Zimbabwe get back to their former glory. I was really encouraged by their display in West Indies and hope that they can continue the good work in the T20WC

  • on March 26, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    O gr8 news!!! Always wanted to c him in action. A gr8 all-rounder, infact amongst the best in business. Hope that he fares well on his comeback!!!

  • seansie78 on March 26, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    good to see the tormentor back in zim colors , at 31 he has a good 10-15 yeras ahead .pity though about shingi, i thought hw showed a lot of maturity in the west indies , coming back to seal the win , stuart though was all out of it, he needs a time out.shows that no one is indispensible now , stuart scored well against south africa not too long ago in a 188 partnership with taibu , who i hpe will get over his urge to sweep at everything spinner s throw at him . this should be the crossing for zimbabwe , a good start should settle the nerves . like to see a replay against the wwest indies , should be a cracker

  • on March 26, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    Zimbabwe squad Prosper Utseya (capt), Brendan Taylor, Charles Coventry, Andy Blignaut, Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Greg Lamb, Elton Chigumbura, Vusi Sibanda, Ray Price, Graeme Cremer, Chamu Chibhabha, Chris Mpofu, Timycen Maruma, Craig Ervine WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT SIBANDA AND LAMB?ARE THEY INDISPENSABLE? DID THEY SHINE AS SUPERSTARS IN WINDIES?WHERE ARE S. ERVINE AND WILLIAMS?I AM AFRAID EITHER THEY ARE NOT FIT,OR THEY DONT QUALIFY THE RACIST STANDARDS SET BY PETER CHINGOKA.