Gary Ballance included in Zimbabwe squad for home T20Is against Ireland

Sikandar Raza has been granted permission to miss the series and play in the ILT20 for Dubai Capitals instead

Gary Ballance revived the innings with a half-century, Essex v Yorkshire, Royal London Cup quarter-final, Chelmsford, June 14. 2018

Gary Ballance has signed a two-year deal to play for Zimbabwe, the country of his birth  •  Getty Images

Gary Ballance, the former England batter who recently signed a two-year deal with Zimbabwe Cricket, has been included in the Zimbabwe squad for the three-match homeT20I series against Ireland later this month. The big omission from the squad is Sikandar Raza, who has been granted permission to play in the UAE's ILT20, where he is a part of the Dubai Capitals squad.
Blessing Muzarabani, the fast bowler who is recovering from a quadriceps injury, wicketkeeper-batter Regis Chakabva, and batter Milton Shumba are all missing, too. Top-order batters Innocent Kaia and Tadiwanashe Marumani, and medium-pacer Victor Nyauchi have been brought in.
Ballance, the 33-year-old left-hand top-order batter who played 23 Tests and 16 ODIs for England between 2014 and 2017, signed the contract with Zimbabwe, the country of his birth, in December last year following his release from county cricket side Yorkshire.
"I'm thrilled to be joining Zimbabwe Cricket and can't wait to start work with some great coaches and talented players," Ballance said at the time. "The opportunity to represent Zimbabwe has given me a new-found passion and excitement for the game.
"I have kept in touch with a number of people within Zimbabwe cricket over the years and it has been great to watch their recent progress especially."
Apart from Raza, all the regulars are in the mix for Zimbabwe, with captain Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava all included.
The three T20I matches will be played on January 12, 14 and 15 at Harare Sports Club. These will be followed by the three-match ODI series, with those matches scheduled for January 18, 21 and 23, also in Harare.
Zimbabwe T20I squad for series against Ireland: Craig Ervine (capt), Gary Ballance, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Clive Madande, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Sean Williams.