Tino Mawoyo has been ruled out of the first Test against New Zealand due to a right thumb injury he picked up in the warm-up match in Harare. Mawoyo, who was captaining Zimbabwe A in the match, was struck by a Tim Southee delivery off the fourth ball he faced, and played no further part in the match. The bruising on his thumb has made it impossible for him to grip the bat, but he is hopeful of recovering in time for the second Test, which starts on August 6.
Prince Masvaure and Chamu Chibhabha are the most likely candidates to take Mawoyo's opening slot alongside Brian Chari. Masvaure recently scored 146 against South Africa A in a four-day match in Bulawayo, the venue for the Tests against New Zealand. Chibhabha has played 96 ODIs and 30 T20Is for Zimbabwe, most recently against India last month. Neither of the two has played Test cricket.
Vusi Sibanda, the other possible option, had been dropped from the squad for this series and is in Bulawayo as part of the commentary team. He has not been asked to pad up yet.
Zimbabwe have already had to deal with a number of injury setbacks in the lead-up to this tour. Tinashe Panyangara was left out of the squad after he failed to recover from a back injury in time. Tendai Chatara was then ruled out of both Tests with an ankle injury. Those twin blows to Zimbabwe's bowling department mean that left-arm pacer Brian Vitori and offspinner John Nyumbu, who are available for selection but not in the squad, may just be considered.