Zimbabwe news January 9, 2011

Masakadza dropped from World Cup squad

ESPNcricinfo staff

While there is yet to be any official word from Zimbabwe Cricket, it would appear that there might be a few surprises in Zimbabwe's squad for the World Cup. Opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza has paid a heavy price for his poor form in 2010 and is apparently not included in a preliminary 20-man squad, while Sean Ervine may well be in line for an international comeback after his name was included in press reports about the potential team.

Masakadza, 27, is one of the country's most experienced batsmen and has been a dominant force in domestic cricket for the last few years. After a prolific run in 2009, when he scored 1,087 runs in ODIs - the fourth best returns in world cricket that year - Masakadza's form slumped alarmingly in 2010 and he averaged just 19.00 in ODIs for the national side.

After making his debut as a 17-year-old in 2001, Masakadza missed out on selection for the tournament in both 2003 and 2007 - the first time because he was at university in South Africa and the second because of a dip in form and a perceived lack of fluency in limited-overs cricket. He struggled in Zimbabwe's three most recent series, against Ireland, South Africa and Bangladesh, managing just 52 runs in seven innings.

Uncertainty still reigns over Ervine's inclusion. His younger brother, Craig, is a certainty after a productive first year with the national side, but the older Ervine is still under contract with Hampshire as a local player until the end of the 2011 season. He would have to revert to overseas status if he wanted to resume his international career with Zimbabwe, but Hampshire already have legspinner Imran Tahir on their books in that role.

"I'll speak with Sean and get to the bottom of this but I expect him to be with us next year," Hampshire manager Giles White told BBC Solent in December. "We've offered him a new deal and he's said he'd like to take that up. I will be interested to find out more about it because he is under contract with Hampshire. I will try to contact Sean but it's difficult as he's on a farm in Zimbabwe, but we will get him on the phone and sort things out so we can move things forward and hopefully get some clarity."

Ervine played the last of 42 ODIs for Zimbabwe against Bangladesh at Harare Sports Club in March 2004 before becoming embroiled in the 'rebel' crisis and falling out with the board. He has since forged a successful career in County cricket with Hampshire, and remains part of their squad for the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament, which starts on Monday.

Zimbabwe's poor batting was the biggest let-down of their recent Bangladesh tour, and Ervine's form and experience would certainly be a valuable asset to the national side. Zimbabwe's batsmen will also be undergoing an intensive training programme ahead of the World Cup, with enhanced solidity at the beginning of the innings and an ability to play spin in the middle overs being the main objectives.

"We have come up with an intensive training structure so that we can try and help the guys improve their technique going into the World Cup," assistant coach Steven Mangongo told The Independent in Zimbabwe. "The Bangladesh series served as an eye-opener because we observed some worrying frailties in our batting department.

"We want them to improve so that there is a bit more stability especially during the first 15 overs of an innings. We are currently working with the batsmen together with batting coach Grant Flower and we will be joined by the national coach Alan Butcher and we also expect to get some help from Brian Lara at some point later."

Zimbabwe open their World Cup campaign against Australia in Ahmedabad on February 21 before they face Canada in Nagpur on February 28.

20-man squad: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Regis Chakabva, Chamu Chibhabha, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Terry Duffin, Craig Ervine, Sean Ervine, Greg Lamb, Tino Mawoyo, Shingirai Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Tinashe Panyangara, Ray Price, Ed Rainsford, Vusi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lovemore on January 12, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    I strongly believe the major issue which ZC has to look into is the captaincy issue & the best man for the job will be Taylor.All in all goodluck guys @ the world cup, i believe Hami should be on the plane instead of Vusi

  • mahjut on January 12, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    Vusi for Masakadza...No!! not for me! Hami is good enough for a spot (personally I am happy enough the Matsikenyeri is gone and think Vusi hasn't really earned this recognition) - same could be said about Williams or Coventry I guess (Internationally anyway) and Duffin? (i don't think a 'safe' opener is a good idea, but can see why zim choose this route). I am happy with Shingi, I thought he bowled pretty well at times when I've seen him in ODIs.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    i agree with everyone that dropping Hamster is a huge mistake. Even though he is off-form, there is need to add him as a reserve batsman. We faced the same prob in 2007 world cup when the top order collapsed and we had to field an inexperienced (then)Friday Kasteni to open the bat. Its a terrible mistake unless there is someone better than Hamster.

  • Levi on January 12, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    really disappointing blignaut wont be there why not i wish i knew somebody? what must be understood first of all is that in terms of the team balance/structure there must always be from 8-11 Utseya Cremer Price and a seamer. Hamilton must be there, why sibanda is considered is beyond me his erratic domestic form reflects that of when representing ZIM, im not going to bang on about negatives its simple get the 11 or 15 men sorted then start doing the work only once you have the players. Chigumbura, S.Ervine, Lamb, Mpofu, Panyangara, Price, Taibu, Taylor, Utseya, Williams, Cremer, C.Ervine, Coventry, Chibhabha, H.MASAKADZA, *Chakabva. *Chakabva no.16 as back up to Hamilton as a result of the unnecessary irregularities relating to his inclusion in the squad. This 11 must be fielded for ZIM to achieve maximum success from ICC CWC 2011. 1.Taylor 2.Masakadza 3.Williams 4.Taibu 5.S.Ervine 6.Lamb 7.Chigumbura 8.Utseya 9.Cremer 10.Price 11.Mpofu.

  • tupee on January 11, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    l see no prob in Sibanda's inclusion , but totally droping hamilton aint wise either not playing him a few games , to give him a wake up call would have been wiser , the wont be any cover up the order.

  • Mcknamara on January 11, 2011, 17:46 GMT

    Whre is Skandar Raza,i think Zim cricket shld inc as he adds more power to ur tyop order batting which is struggling he has perfomed well in the domestic Pro40 wy give him a chance & prove himself.

  • Spad on January 11, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    Can any one tell me, who all are the genuine fast bowlers in this preliminary squad except Mpofu?

  • Dummy4 on January 10, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    warning 2 e relaxd players next it Chigumbura he shuld wear nt pull up his socks,all the best 2 the team in the subcontinent if our batsman join the party we'l do wel coz i trust our spinners wil do their job

  • Dummy4 on January 10, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    First, some of u guys just comment when you don't really follow zim cricket. grant retired not blignaut who wanted money that he could not be offered by the tuskers so he hasn't played any games so no surprise he is not in the squad. second, some of the guys in the pleliminary squad don't deserve to be here. masakadza has had a bad patch (taylor too) but they both deserve to be in the squad because they will come good eventually as they are our best batsmen. as for duffin, sibanda, mawoyo and shingi masakadza they should not be in the squad. mutizwa is better than mawoyo and hami better than all the other batsmen (check the stats). as for pace bowling masakadza is too expensive. sometimes zim don't bat to high scores so you need tight bowlers so mpofu and maybe rainsford then the spinners. good that lamb is back, don't know why they were ignoring him. waller is a test player and meth didn't do any good in b'desh. world cup is experience. preliminary squad can change. bring back hami!

  • Tari on January 10, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Dropping Hami, was the best move, but l think we still hav a problem with our Captains. Whoever becomes a captain the national, his performance goes down. Prosper started getting wickets after he quit being the captain and Eltie is no more firing. Our WC squad is great most of these perform in the Domestic League so l hope you can take that performance to the WORLD CUP. All the BEST guys see you in DxB.

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