Zimbabwe are likely to miss out on the services of Sean Williams and Craig Ervine for the one-off Test against Bangladesh that starts on Wednesday in Harare. Both players have gone into self-isolation after coming in contact with Covid-positive family members.
"Sean Williams and Craig Ervine, part of Zimbabwe's 20-man squad announced last week, could not join the squad," Zimbabwe Cricket media manager Darlington Majonga said. "They had to self-isolate after both came into contact with family members who tested positive for Covid. According to national health protocols, they had to self-isolate."
In the duo's absence, Brendan Taylor is likely to lead Zimbabwe in the Test. On the eve of the match, Taylor said the absence of Williams and Ervine could be an opportunity for the newcomers in the squad to make a statement.
Zimbabwe had named four uncapped players in the squad last week - opener Takudzwanashe Kaitano, fast bowler Tanaka Chivanga and batters Joylord Gumbie and Dion Myers - and at least two of them are in line for Test debuts.
"We are missing a few experienced players but we have some young and exciting players coming through," Taylor said. "It is a great opportunity for them to see where they stand. It is an exciting time for Zimbabwe cricket."
The bulk of the responsibility in the batting department now rests with Taylor, who had also temporarily taken over the captaincy from Williams when he missed the Tests against Pakistan.
Williams and Ervine were returning to the Test squad for the Bangladesh assignment after nursing injuries. Williams made two centuries against Afghanistan earlier this year but missed the Tests against Pakistan. Ervine, the left-handed top-order batter, would have also been a welcome addition for the side given his decent record against Bangladesh. In five Tests against them, he has 303 runs at an average of 33.66.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84