Gary Ballance set for Zimbabwe Test bow against West Indies

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Gary Ballance is set to play Test cricket for the first time since 2017 after being named in Zimbabwe’s squad to face West Indies in next month’s two-match series.

Sean Williams will miss the Tests in Bulawayo as he recovers from a fractured finger, with Craig Ervine, playing his first Test in three years, captaining the side in Williams’ absence.

Zimbabwe will also be without allrounders Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl due to franchise commitments overseas, while fast bowlers Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani are both out injured.

There are a host of uncapped players in the 16-man squad, with Tafadzwa TsigaJoylord GumbieKudzai Maunze and Tanunurwa Makoni rewarded for their domestic form in the Logan Cup.

Innocent Kaia, Bradley Evans and Tanaka Chivanga, who have all played limited-overs internationals, could be in line for Test debuts. Chamu Chibhabha has been recalled six years after his last Test appearance, while experienced allrounder Donald Tiripano has also been included.

Ballance played 23 Tests for England between 2014 and 2017, scoring four hundreds and averaging 37.45. He returned to Zimbabwe, the country of his birth, after being released by Yorkshire last year and made his ODI debut against Ireland earlier this month.

The series, which begins at Queens Sports Club on Saturday, will mark Zimbabwe’s return to Test cricket after an 18-month gap.

Zimbabwe Test squad to play West Indies: Gary Ballance, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Tanaka Chivanga, Craig Ervine (capt), Bradley Evans, Joylord Gumbie, Innocent Kaia, Tanunurwa Makoni, Wellington Masakadza, Kudzai Maunze, Brandon Mavuta, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Milton Shumba, Donald Tiripano, Tafadzwa Tsiga