Allrounder Solomon Mire, who has played 10 ODIs for Zimbabwe, most recently at the 2015 World Cup, has made himself available for international duty. Zimbabwe Cricket have included him in the squad to play Afghanistan in a five-match ODI series that starts next Thursday. By Firdose Moonda
Mire, who has been playing grade cricket in Australia since the end of the World Cup, will bolster a Zimbabwe squad that is desperate for fixtures ahead of next year’s qualification for the 2019 World Cup.
Mire is accompanied by another allrounder Elton Chigumbura, who has kept his place despite a poor tri-series in which he scored only nine runs in three matches and did not bowl. Whether Chigumbura’s allround ability will be needed in an XI that welcomes back a key strike bowler is yet to be seen.
Tendai Chatara, who last played an international in June 2016, has returned to full fitness after recovering from a leg injury and will likely form one half of the new-ball pair with Chris Mpofu.
Zimbabwe have left out seven players from the squad that reached the final of the tri-series. Chamu Chibhabha, Tendai Chisoro, Hamilton Masakadza, Brian Chari, Carl Mumba, Tinashe Panyangara and Sean Williams all miss out with Mire, Chatara, Wellington Masakadza and two uncapped players, Ryan Burl and Nathan Waller, included. Burl is a left-hand batsman fresh off a a century and two fifties against Afghanistan A, while Waller is an allrounder and cousin of Malcolm.
Two more players will be added to the group after this weekend’s round of Pro50 matches.
Zimbabwe do not have anything on their calendar until a tour to Sri Lanka in mid-2017 and have not played international cricket since a triangular series featuring Sri Lanka and West Indies in November. ESPNcricinfo understands they are in talks to host Scotland and West Indies in June and October respectively in a bid to fill up their calendar, which has also seen a dearth of domestic fixtures.
Zimbabwe were due to have a bumper home season with 12 rounds of Logan Cup first-class fixtures, List A matches and a club competition but the Logan Cup has been delayed several times. It will be pushed back further with this weekend’s fixtures moved to later in the month, but with good reason. The Pro50 Championship will be played instead, in preparation for the Afghanistan series.
Zimbabwe squad: Graeme Cremer (capt), Peter Moor (wk), Ryan Burl, Tarisai Musakanda, Sikandar Raza, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara, Christopher Mpofu, Nathan Waller, Craig Ervine, Solomon Mire.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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