Zimbabwe news January 12, 2011

Sean Ervine in Zimbabwe's finalised World Cup squad

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sean Ervine will return to international duty with Zimbabwe at the World Cup after being included in the finalised squad of 15 for the tournament, which starts on February 19. Elton Chigumbura will captain an evenly-spread group that includes six batsmen, two of whom are part-time spinners, three seamers and three specialist slow bowlers.

Ervine will join his young brother Craig in the squad on a three-year contract, signed over Christmas, but for the moment will also continue his association with Hampshire as an overseas player and remains part of their squad for the ongoing Caribbean Twenty20 competition. His return to Zimbabwe colours ends an international hiatus of nearly seven years, and his experience will help to shore up a brittle middle order, as well as providing a third all-round option along with Chigumbura and Greg Lamb.

The squad also provides options in the wicketkeeping department. Tatenda Taibu is an obvious first choice for the role, but Regis Chakabva, Brendan Taylor and Charles Coventry could all provide competent back-up should he be injured.

One area in which Zimbabwe may be a little light is their opening batsmen. With Hamilton Masakadza omitted from Zimbabwe's World Cup plans despite helping to put together some useful opening stands last year, Chamu Chibhabha failing to make the cut and Terrence Duffin, Tino Mawoyo and Vusi Sibanda included only as non-travelling reserves it would appear either Chakabva or Taibu will be Taylor's partner at the top.

Chakabva has opened for Zimbabwe Under-19, Zimbabwe A and Zimbabwe Provinces in limited-overs cricket on occasion, while Taibu has taken first strike in three one-day internationals - most recently against Bangladesh at Mirpur in January 2009 - although his only success in that position has been in domestic cricket.

Prosper Utseya, Ray Price and Graeme Cremer were always certainties in the World Cup squad with Zimbabwe building their bowling attack around spin in recent times, while Shingi Masakadza, Chris Mpofu and Ed Rainsford were the three most obvious choices for the seamers' positions. There's no space for Ryan Butterworth, whose all-round performances in the domestic Stanbic Bank 20 Series earned him a call-up for the trip to Bangladesh late last year, with Charles Coventry and Sean Williams taking the final two spots.

Brian Lara, who signed a contract as batting consultant to the national side after his involvement in the local Twenty20 tournament with the Southern Rocks franchise, will join the touring party on a pre-World Cup trip to Dubai and India from February 1. Zimbabwe will play two warm-up matches in each country, and coach Alan Butcher has argued that they will be better or as well prepared for the World Cup as any of their 13 rivals.

Zimbabwe World Cup squad: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Regis Chakabva, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Sean Ervine, Gregory Lamb, Shingirai Masakadza, Christopher Mpofu, Raymond Price, Edward Rainsford, Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams

Non-travelling reserves: Terrence Duffin, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Njabulo Ncube, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vicky on January 14, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    i think a pretty decent squad but surprised to see exclusion of maskadza.i dont see any reason why he has been ignored over other inexperienced players.great to have sean ervine back,he wil really provide substance to the already promising batting line up.good chance for ZIM to shine given the situation of other teams in their group.pressure will be on chigumbra who has not performed to his potential after becoming captain of side.best of luck to ZIM.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    I'm a little surprised at the exclusion of Sibanda from the main squad as he is one of the better batsman in Zimbabwe at the moment. Also Hamilton Masakadza missing out is a surprise.

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2011, 21:08 GMT

    How on earth did CJ Chibhabha & Keith Dabengwa fail to make that Zim cricket world cup squad??? Agree that it's too risky to experiment with opening batsman like Chakabva who's got no international experience at all, what has he done to be picked ahead of these other guys even a misfiring Hamilton Masakadza? Suspect that they will use Sean Irvine as an opening pinch hitter with Brendan Taylor Wish the team success though

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    In the case of seamers I believe SW Masakadza is very expensive, therefore I would have given his position to T Panyangara. Mpofu has a height advantage and can bounce, but then again the wickets in the subcontinent are slow and low. This is something that we should have thought about. Spinners wil definitely make a diff. For this tourney I would have taken 2 strike bowlers 1. C Mpofu 2. T Panyangara, 4 spinners 1. P Utseya 2. G Cremer 3. R Price (slow left arm) 4. Sean Williams (who can bat) and the rest batsmen in this order 1. H. Masakadza 2. B Taylor 3. C Chibhabha/C Conventry 4. T Taibu 5. E Chigumbura/R Chakabva. There is a good part-time bowling option in C Chibhabha and maybe Chigumbura.

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    All the best to the team zim they will need it .

  • Sachit on January 13, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    13 out of 15 are perfect selections to me but I am not really convinced with selection of Chakabva and Williams. Sibanda and Chibhabha could have been better choices as they are specialist openers. Experimenting with openers could really backfire for any team.

    Seeing Sean Ervine and Greg Lamb in this squad is really a welcome move. This team would surely surpass Kenya and Canada and if it plays to its potentials, it could also shock kiwis and kangaroos who are playing at their lowest level these days. If Zimbabweans do so, they would be proud to be in QFs. From there its knockout so can't predict too much at this stage.

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    The decision to omit Masakadza is, frankly, baffling. Admittedly, his past year of ODI performances has been below par, but the guy has almost 3000 ODI runs and is far more experienced than Chakavba. Furthermore, he has actually been in good form on the domestic scene in Zimbabwe, averaging 80+in the Logan cup, 30 odd from three knocks in the 40 over comp and 48 at a strike rate of 135 from four digs in the T20. When you consider that Zimbabwe have two good keepers in Taibu and Taylor, it seems a massive gaffe to leave out someone who is still only 27. Sean Ervines return is a massive coup though, great stuff.

    possible test XI if they return next year:

    Masakadza Sibanda S. ervine Taylor Taibu Lamb Chigumbura Utseya Price Rainsford Mpofu

  • Bryton on January 13, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    Totally agree with tupee...WC is not the place to experiment with an opening partnership...I suspect Chibaba (the only other opener) will open...he is a bit of a miss and hit, and I'd rather have a misfiring Hamilton. Vusi is a Test player and not an ODI or T20 player. Good to see Lamb back (baffles why he was in the cold)...as is...

    1. Taylor 2. Chibaba [Chakabva] 3. Taibu 4. S Ervine 5. C Ervine 6. Lamb [Williams] 7. Chigumbura 8. Utseya 9. Price 10. Creamer 11. Mpofu [Masakadza/Rainsford]

    What happens if the openning misfires? Is Williams really better than Dabengwa? (Spiner who bats)...

    do we really need both Shingi and Raisford, (when we are going to play just one pace bowler? I would have taken just 1 Rainsford as backup, Chigumbura/Chibaba/S Ervine can bowl as a 2nd fm, Shingi is too expensive, the use the extra slot for a specialist opener... Hamilton) ....

    How many chances has Covenrty had? Butterworth surely earned his spot.

  • Spad on January 13, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Well Done Zimbabwe.. Terrific Squad. I wish Mazakadza was there...The squad looks very balanced..surely they can reach the QF..They should play with three spinners in D/N matches..That will bring better result. Zim should have to concentrate the matches against NZ, PAK, KEN and CAN...All the best

  • tupee on January 13, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Although the squad sounds good , where on earth have you ever had a team that experiments with openning batsman at the World Cup, Hope this is not too much of a risk

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