By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) all-rounder Sikandar Raza has been omitted from the national team squad which leaves the country this weekend for Bangladesh ahead of a T20 international triangular series that also involves Afghanistan.
The 33 year-old, who is one of the country’s best players in subcontinent conditions, was expected to feature in the squad for the upcoming series.
Zimbabwe will face off against hosts Bangladesh and Afghanistan in a T20 triangular which runs from September 13 to 24 before they head to Singapore for another T20 triangular series involving the hosts and Nepal.
Raza will however not feature in both assignments after the ZC convener of selectors Walter Chawaguta revealed that the selection panel had opted to leave him out over pending disciplinary issues raised by the captain Hamilton Masakadza.
Masakadza, who is set to retire from international cricket, fell out with Raza due to the Pakistan-born player’s open support of the Sports and Recreation Commission’s decision to suspend the ZC board.
“It is important that we support our captain, whether it is Masakadza or anyone else, by creating an environment in which we can be confident he will have the full support of all players, with everyone pulling in the same direction and able to trust each other. It is for those reasons that we have decided to leave Raza out,” Chawaguta said.
Raza is one of the few notable omissions in the new look squads for together with wicketkeeper batsman Peter Moor and seam bowler Donald Tiripano while a number of new faces have been added to the squad.
Zimbabwe head coach Lalchand Rajput said his focus is now on building a new squad that can compete in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India after the after the country was recently ruled out of next year’s ICC T20 World Cup.
“We are now shifting our focus to rebuilding a new team and to do that we must gradually blood in younger players and create a new culture that encourages unity, hard work, professionalism and excellence,” Rajput said.
“We will not make wholesale changes, as we definitely still need some of the experienced players to help the new generation find their feet in international cricket.
“It is important that we still field a competitive side – that is why we have a good mix of youth and experience in the team that has been selected for the Bangladesh tour.”
The 15-man squad picked for the Bangladesh triangular series includes young players such as Tony Munyonga, Ainsley Ndlovu, Ryan Burl, Tinotenda Mutombodzi and Neville Madziva.
Zimbabwe have also retained the experienced Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams and Christopher Mpofu for the triangular series.
Zimbabwe will face Bangladesh in the first T20I at Mirpur on 13 September.
Rajput’s charges will be in action again the following day at the same venue, against Afghanistan.
Zimbabwe will then lock horns with the hosts again on 18 September before taking on Afghanistan for the second time two days later – both matches will be played in Chattogram.
The final is scheduled for Mirpur on 24 September.
Zimbabwe will then head straight to Singapore for another T20 triangular series. A much younger side that is more reflective of the new direction that Zimbabwe is taking has been picked for the Singapore triangular series against the hosts and Nepal.
Sean Williams will captain the youthful side.
Zimbabwe squad for Bangladesh triangular series:
Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Regis Chakabva, Richmond Mutumbami, Sean Williams, Neville Madziva, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Tony Munyonga, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Christopher Mpofu, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Ainsley Ndlovu, Timycen Maruma, Ryan Burl
Zimbabwe squad for Singapore triangular series:
Sean Williams (captain), Regis Chakabva, Brian Chari, Richmond Mutumbami, Neville Madziva, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Tony Munyonga, Daniel Jakiel, Tendai Chatara, Richard Ngarava, Wellington Masakadza, William Mashinge, Peter Moor, Timycen Maruma, Craig Ervine