Batsman Malcolm Waller and wicketkeeper Forster Mutizwa are the two new faces in the 15-man Zimbabwe squad, which was announced today, for the tour of Bangladesh in January. Both additions bolster Zimbabwe's batting line-up which has been struggling of late, evident from the previous ODI series against Sri Lanka, where they failed to post 200 - managing scores of 127, 67, 166, 146 and 133 - in the five matches.
Chamu Chibhabha, who disappointed during the 0-5 thrashing at home, has been axed from the squad along with Timycen Maruma, Shingirai Masakadza and Regis Chakabva.
Waller, 24, is the son of former Zimbabwe international Andy, and has played just three first-class matches and a handful of domestic one-dayers, though he did show promise with 3 for 46 against Sri Lanka A in November.
The 23-year-old Mutizwa, on the other hand, has a little more experience with 191 first-class runs at 23.87. He may eventually end up as a backup wicketkeeper to Tatenda Taibu, a role similar to Chakabva's in the Sri Lanka series where he did not play a single game.
Taibu was included in the squad, despite being at the centre of a dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), after a Harare court had ordered ZC to submit documents concerning its payroll, sponsorship deals and ICC grants following claims of financial mismanagement made by him. Taibu was earlier facing charges of assault on ZC's general finance manager, Esther Lupepe, in October. The ZC however, has rubbished the claims and the case has been deferred till February 6.
Sean Williams, who quit international cricket this year citing frustration but returned to play in the Sri Lanka series, has also been retained.
Zimbabwe, despite their recent problems and flat-lining form, will take heart from the fact that they have a 18-15 win-loss record against Bangladesh, who are coming off a 3-0 hiding away to South Africa in their previous ODI series.
In addition to the warm-up match against the Bangladesh Academy from January 6-8, they will also be playing a one-day tri-series involving Sri Lanka as the third team. They will then take on Bangladesh in three one-dayers in Dhaka scheduled for January 19, 21 and 23.
Zimbabwe: Prosper Utseya (capt), Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu, Ray Price, Sean Williams, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Elton Chigumbura, Vusi Sibanda, Tawanda Mupariwa, Keith Dabengwa, Ed Rainsford, Graeme Cremer, Chris Mpofu, Forster Mutizwa, Malcolm Waller.