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Sikandar Raza will begin his first assignment as Zimbabwe's full-time T20I captain by leading a near-full-strength squad in the upcoming T20 World Cup men's Africa Qualifier, to be held in Namibia from November 22. Zimbabwe, who made a number of major changes to their set-up following a 3-2 T20I series defeat to Namibia last month, will be boosted by the return to full fitness of pace bowler Blessing Muzarabani who has recovered from a right-hand fracture.
Zimbabwe will be without seamer Brad Evans, who has not yet fully recovered from shin splits.
Overall, the team made four changes to the side that featured at the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, with opening batters Innocent Kaia, Nicholas Welch and Tadiwanashe Marumani, and fast bowler Carl Mumba all finding a place in the 15-member squad. Raza will also be hoping to count on the experience of Craig Ervine, Sean Williams and Tendai Chatara, as well as others like Richard Ngarava, Ryan Burl and Wellington Masakadza.
Zimbabwe are one of seven teams taking part in the Africa Qualifier, as they look to book their spot in next year's T20 World Cup, to be held in the USA and the Caribbean.
Zimbabwe did not participate in the 2021 T20 World Cup because Zimbabwe Cricket was suspended by the ICC because of government interference in its administration. At the 2022 edition, they topped their group in the first round but finished last - sixth - in their Super 12 grouping, and failed to automatically qualify for 2024. Two teams from the qualifiers will complete the 20-team line-up for the main edition in 2024.
Last month, ZC, placing importance on Zimbabwe's pursuit of a spot at the upcoming T20 World Cup, named Raza as the permanent captain in T20Is, while also retaining Dave Houghton as the head coach in an attempt to maintain continuity.