Chigumbura to stay on as captain

Elton Chigumbura in a training session AFP

Confusion remains over Elton Chigumbura's position as captain of Zimbabwe, but it would appear he has been retained ahead of Zimbabwe's return to Tests in three months' time.

It had initially been thought that Chigumbura was on the brink of handing in his resignation, wanting to concentrate on regaining his own form, but subsequent reports in local newspapers suggested first that he would retain control of the Twenty20 team but hand over the reins in the longer forms, and then that no resignation had happened and that Chigumbura was still in charge.

"I'm still the captain of the national team and you can seek confirmation from Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)," Chigumbura reportedly told News Day. "Yes, at one time I contemplated quitting the post but I never officially tendered my resignation."

This would appear to contradict comments previously attributed to ZC managing director Ozias Bvute in the same newspaper, in which he explained that "the board only received a formal resignation letter from Chigumbura recently and they are still deliberating on the issue. Honestly, there is no hurry at all to name the new captain as the international calendar only resumes in August. There is still a lot of time before that."

It was suggested that Chigumbura had been pressured into his initial decision, but decided to stay on as captain after talks with ZC officials. "Chigumbura never intended to quit and most of the players know that," a source allegedly told News Day.

"He was willing to continue working hard and regain his form and that is what he told the officials who were asking him to step down. He is a talented player and he has not become the worst over night and it is unfair for ZC to strip him now. It is a sensitive issue which had the potential to degenerate into another fight with Takashinga as they were already planning to protest moves to oust the player."

Chigumbura, 25, has enjoyed some notable successes since taking over from Prosper Utseya, including victories against India and Sri Lanka in a triangular series, in which Zimbabwe finished runners-up, at home. His own form has dipped alarmingly, however, as he's averaged 21.06 with the bat and 158.50 with the ball in 20 ODIs as captain and was a disappointment at the World Cup.

Batsmen Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza, who was controversially left out of Zimbabwe's World Cup squad, were apparently in the running to take over the captaincy. Left-arm spinner Ray Price, who recently joined the Mumbai Indians squad in the Indian Premier League, emerged as the fans' favourite to take over the leadership role, topping a poll in the The Herald, Zimbabwe's largest government-owned newspaper.