Terry Duffin appointed Zimbabwe captain February 23, 2006

Unknown leads a squad of unknowns

Cricinfo staff

Terry Duffin in action on his Test debut last September © AFP
As exclusively revealed by Cricinfo yesterday, Zimbabwe have confirmed left-hand opening batsman Terry Duffin as their captain, and also named four uncapped players in the squad for the five ODIs against Kenya.

Duffin was appointed to lead the 15-man squad that makes the journey to Bulawayo for the first two matches on Saturday and Sunday. He is expected to make his ODI debut and open the batting with Brendan Taylor, who was named in the squad despite not being offered a contract.

Two of the new faces, Ryan Higgins and Keegan Meth, were part of the Zimbabwe Under-19 squad that reached the Super League stage of the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. Higgins was in form with bat and ball, top scored with 74 runs for Zimbabwe when they beat Nepal by two runs in the group stages and showed displayed some resilient legspin. Meth top scored with 91 against Sri Lanka in a Super League play-off match.

But Sean Williams, who led the U-19 side, was not picked as he has just undergone minor surgery. Sources also suggest that he has not signed the contract offered by ZC. Another notable absentee was Andy Blignaut. For weeks the board have been insisting - despite evidence to the contrary - that he was contracted and available. But his omission proves true stories that he would not play until his backpay had been cleared.

The other two uncapped players are allrounders Gregory Strydom and Pete Rinke. Strydom is one of the biggest hitters of the ball in Zimbabwe while Rinke is a medium-pace bowler with an ability to bat in the middle but has been out of the picture for the past two seasons.

The selectors have also included top-order batsman Hamilton Masakadza who turned down a contract offer from Zimbabwe Cricket but opted to be available on a tour-by-tour basis. The choice of wicketkeeper will be between Taylor and Charles Coventry.

There is more experience among the bowlers with quicks Edward Rainsford, Anthony Ireland, Blessing Mahwire, Elton Chigumbura and Waddington Mwayenga all vying for slots. Offspinner Prosper Utseya and left-arm spinner Keith Dabengwa make the starting line-up, as the Queens Sports Club track is a spinners' paradise.

There was no place for Matabeleland pace bowlers Christopher Mpofu and Tawanda Mupariwa despite their good performance in the Faithwear inter-provincial one-day competition.

Zimbabwe squad Terrence Duffin (capt), Elton Chigumbura, Keith Dabengwa, Ryan Higgins, Anthony Ireland, Blessing Mahwire, Hamilton Masakadza, Keegan Meth, Waddington Mwayenga, Edward Rainsford, Piet Rinke, Gregory Strydom, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya.