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Southern Rocks sign Sidebottom

SOUTHERN Rocks have completed a double swoop by signing former England bowler Ryan Sidebottom after completing the acquisition of West Indies legend, Brian Lara, for the Stanbic T-20 Championships starting at the Harare Sports Club next week.

Sidebottom becomes the second high profile signing after the Masvingo franchise shrugged off Mashonaland Eagles challenge for legend Lara’s services.
Rocks have been the most active side in transfer dealings after a disappointing last season when they finished last in the Stanbic T-20 Championships, and failing to make any impact in the Met Bank Challenge and the Castle Logan Cup.
But they have shown serious intentions this time after securing national team wicket-keeper batsman Tatenda Taibu and Stuart Matsikenyere who both won the T-20 Championships with Mountaineers earlier this year.
Rocks, however, will be without Sean Ervine as the former Zimbabwe national team all-rounder is switching to champions Mountaineers.
Rocks’ chief executive officer Givemore Makoni confirmed the Sidebottom and Lara signings, saying that his team would be mounting a serious challenge after roping in a wealth of experience in the form of the four players.
Makoni said: “We have signed Bottom and we have also confirmed the Lara deal, so we are done with the acquisition of new personnel and we are just ready to get going.
“It was a bad season the last time on but we have achieved good results in the competitions that have been played so far. In Bottom we signed a player who has proven himself on the big stage and with Lara we just have got ourselves the best batsman to grace the game of cricket.”
In this year’s tournament brochure Makoni declared: “This time Rocks come into the much awaited Stanbic T-20 ready to conquer. We have left no stone unturned in our preparations. With king Lara and speed merchant Sidebottom in your side, who can ever go wrong.”
Bottom won the T-20 World Cup with England this year in the West Indies before announcing his retirement from international cricket in September after leading Nottinghamshire to County Championship.
The highlights of his nine year international career that includes 22 Test, 25 One-Day-Internationals and 18 T-20s, is his Test hat trick against New Zealand.
Adding to the list of big names in domestic competitions, Lou Vincent of New Zealand has also signed for Kwekwe’s Rhinos, joining Garry Balance at the Jason Gillespie-coached team.
Vincent adds to a squad that already has in its books national team opening batsman Brendan Taylor, seam bowler Edward Rainsford, Malcom Waller, Vusa Sibanda and Graeme Cremer, to mention a few.
Mashonaland Eagles who won the Logan Cup last season have been struggling to retain their form this year.
They have roped in veteran Grant Flower into their squad after Andrew Hall also joined Elton Chigumbura’s men.
But with Foster Mutizwa, Raymond Price and Greg Lamb in the fold, they should still mount a good challenge for the 20-over tournament.
Eagles kick start their campaign with a match against Matabeleland Tuskers on November 14.
Tuskers lost Andy Blignaut from last season’s squad, but retained Charles Coventry, Sean Williams, Terry Duffin, Christopher Mpofu and Keegan Meth, among other notables.
Rocks start the campaign with a match against Rhinos while Mountaineers’ title defense only starts on November 14.

 

Kevin Mapasure

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