Takashinga influence there for all to see

Zimbabwe have named their Board XI squad for the opening match of the tour by Pakistan's National Academy which gets underway next week.

Although their first-team squad are all on full-time contracts, none of the leading players have been selected, fuelling rumours of renewed friction between them and the board, a situation exacerbated by last week's decision not to renew the contract of coach Robin Brown. While the board will stress that they are giving as many young players as possible a chance, it will be interesting to see how many first-teamers actually take part in the series.

The increasing influence of the Takashinga club was to the fore with eight of the 15-man squad being drawn from their ranks. Takashinga has been accused of getting considerable favouritism in terms of finance and support from Zimbabwe Cricket, and the club is also known to have strong links to the ruling Zanu-PF regime.

The team will be captained by opening batsman Erick Chauluka, who has enjoyed little success in previous flirtations as Zimbabwe A skipper. Steven Mangongo, who is also from Takashinga, will coach the side.

Zimbabwe Board XI Erick Chauluka (capt), Bonaparte Mujuru, Prince Masvaure, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Timycen Maruma, Bradley Staddon, Gerald Aliseni, Trevor Garwe, Friday Kasteni, Regis Chakabva, Patient Charumbira, Sam Mwakayeni, Taurai Muzarabani, Tafadzwa Ngulube, Shingi Masakadza.