By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S preparations for the Test series against Afghanistan have been dealt a major blow after the experienced pair of Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine were omitted from the inexperienced squad announced on Monday ahead the team’s departure for Abu Dhabi, UAE on Friday.
The Chevrons are scheduled to play against their bogey side Afghanistan in two Tests and three T20 international matches staring on March 2.
However, Zimbabwe is set to head into the crucial tour without some of their seasoned campaigners Taylor and Ervine who both failed to join the national team camp due to illness and could thus not be considered for the tour.
The duo’s absence is another major blow to the Zimbabwe side which has already been hamstrung by the absence of experienced bowlers Tendai Chatara and Kyle Jarvis due to injuries while Chamu Chibhabha also misses out as he is yet to fully recover a thigh muscle injury.
Wicketkeeper batsman PJ Moor was also ruled out after he suffered a hamstring injury during a practice match this week.
In the absence of several seasoned campaigners, Zimbabwe will bank on captain Sean Williams together with Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva and Donald Tiripano to provide the much-needed experience for the series.
There is also a place in the squad for Tarisai Musakanda who has bounced back to reclaim his place in the national side following some impressive performances on the domestic scene.
Musakanda who will be looking to add to his only Test cap he earned four years ago in Sri Lanka has been in brilliant form.
After being named the National Premier League batsman of the tournament, the 26-year-old has continued with his good form with the bat, hitting back-to-back centuries for the Southerns select side in the four-day matches that Zimbabwe have been using to prepare for the upcoming tour.
Former Zimbabwe Under-19 star Wesley Madhevere is in line for his Test debut after being named in the squad while allrounder Ryan Burl has been included in the side on the back of a good run of form locally.
The trio of Milton Shumba, Faraz Akram and Tinashe Kamunhukamwe will be joining the squad later for the three-match T20I series, which is scheduled to begin after the Tests.
The first Test starts on March 2, followed by the second from March 10. The series then moves on to the T20Is from March 17 onwards. All five matches will be held in Abu Dhabi.
Zimbabwe are set to leave for Abu Dhabi via Dubai this Friday.
Zimbabwe Test Squad for Afghanistan Tour:
Sean Williams (captain), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Kevin Kasuza, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Prince Masvaure, Brandon Mavuta, Tarisai Musakanda, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Donald Tiripano