ZIMBABWE Cricket selectors have kept faith in the squad that played in Bangladesh and Kenya at the beginning of the year for next weekâ€™s tour of India.
The Zimbabwe President XI, basically the countryâ€™s full strength side, will play in Indiaâ€™s domestic Deodhar Trophy, an inter-zonal one-day tournament starting on March 13.
Although ZC chairman Peter Chingoka was only expected to sign off the squad this morning as is the norm, IndependentSport established that following a marathon meeting yesterday, the selectors decided to go with an unchanged team for the â€œpurpose of consistence,â€ indicating that the selectors are seriously searching for a core side ahead of re-admission into the Test arena.
The Prosper Utseya-captained side generally performed well in Bangladesh in January despite results reflecting otherwise. In a tri-series also involving Sri Lanka, they failed to reach the final after recording one win over Bangladeshâ€™s Tigers and then losing to Sri Lanka.
They then lost a three-match ODI contest 2-1 to Bangladesh.
High on confidence, they proceeded to the stopover tour in Kenya where they turned on the style to blitz the East Africans 5-0 in a convincing series whitewash.
At the end of the Deodhar Trophy the Zimbabwe were originally scheduled to shuttle to Sri Lanka for a five ODI series and a tour match, but the Sri Lanka board last week postponed the tour in order to give their players rest ahead of the Indian Premier League.
The Sri Lankans were scheduled to start their second Test match in Pakistan yesterday but the tour was cancelled following terrorism attacks on the Sri Lanka team and ICC officials on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe will not play any further matches on the subcontinent beyond the Deodhar Trophy to fill the void left by the Sri Lankans.
They will play the first of their two Group B matches on March 14 against South Zone. They will then play West Zone two days later in their second match. The final is set for March 18.
The Deodhar Trophy, a List A competition, is one of Indiaâ€™s leading one-day domestic competitions.
It stars some of Indiaâ€™s top upcoming players and former internationals.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe selectors have also named the Zimbabwe A side due in Namibia next week. The national reserve side will play the full Namibia side from March 10 – 16 in Windhoek to help them with preparations for the ICC 2011 World Cup qualifiers in April.
Zimbabwe squad to India
Prosper Utseya (captain), Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu, Ray Price, Sean Williams, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Vusi Sibanda, Elton Chigumbura, Keith Dabengwa, Forster Mutizwa, Malcolm Waller, Graeme Cremer, Ed Rainford, Chris Mpofu, Tawanda Mupariwa.
Zim A squad to Namibia
Regis Chakabva (captain), Eric Chauluka, Cephas Zhuwawo, Mark Vermeulen, Charles Coventry, Mbekezeli Mabuza, Timycen Maruma, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Shingi Masakadza, Trevor Garwe, Tendai Chisoro, Bothwell Chapungu, Admire Manyumwa, Natsai Mushangwe.
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO