Zimbabwe Cricket, on Wednesday, announced their 15-member men’s squad for the upcoming home T20I series against Ireland, starting later this month.
Garry Balance, the former England batter, who recently signed a two-year deal with Zimbabwe Cricket, has been included in the outfit. Balance, who played 23 Tests and 16 ODIs for England, signed the contract with Zimbabwe, the country of his birth, in December last year following his release from county cricket side Yorkshire.
The big omission, however, is of star all-rounder Sikandar Raza. The Pakistani-born Zimbabwean international player, who was named in the nominee list of ICC’s cricketer of the year, has been granted permission to play in the UAE’s ILT20, where he will represent Dubai Capitals.
“Star all-rounder Sikandar Raza – who is in the running for the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year, ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year and ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year awards – will not feature in the series against Ireland after Zimbabwe Cricket granted him the permission to play franchise cricket elsewhere,” said Zimbabwe Cricket in an official release.
Further in the missing list are frontline pacer Blessing Muzarabani, wicketkeeper-batter Regis Chakabva, and batter Milton Shumba. Though, the likes of Innocent Kaia, Tadiwanashe Marumani, and Victor Nyauchi have returned to the squad.
Captain Craig Ervine will continue to lead the side, which has some familiar faces in the form of Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava. Notably, the three T20Is will be played on January 12, 14 and 15 at Harare Sports Club.
Last month, Ireland had also announced their squad, giving former rugby player and brother of Mark Adair, Ross, his maiden call-up.
Zimbabwe’s T20I squad for the home series against Ireland:
Craig Ervine (capt), Gary Ballance, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Clive Madande, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Sean Williams.