NATIONAL team seam bowler Shingi Masakadza has suffered a World Cup heart-break after he was excluded from the final 15-men squad that will represent Zimbabwe at the International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka next month.
The final squad was named at a press conference in Harare yesterday.
Shingi, younger brother to opening batsman Hamilton, who made the grade, was expected to make it for the global showcase but rookie Richard Muzhange and Brian Vitori were preferred ahead of him.
Muzhange starred in the recent T-20 triangular series that featured Zimbabwe, South Africa and Bangladesh.
On the other hand Vitori, who did not take part in that series starred in One-Day-International triangular series, composed of “A” sides from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
But Masakadza had a good outing in the T20 format when Zimabawe toured New Zealand earlier this year.
Convener of selectors Givemore Makoni admitted that leaving out Masakadza was a difficult decision.
“He has been doing well and it was a tough decision, but looking at recent form and statistics, Vitori and Muzhange have been doing better,” said Makoni. “I think Shingi did not raise up his hand as did the other two they played very well in the recent triangular series.”
Shingi is one of the five players that have been placed on stand-by and will continue to train with the rest of the squad until they depart.
The others that we trimmed from the 20-men squad are wicketkeeper batsman Regis Chakabva, seamer Tendai Chatara, Richard Mutumbami and Tinotenda Mutombodzi.
Captain Brendan Taylor, who has since left for Sri Lanka where he will play in that country’s Premier League, will lead the squad in the quest to upstage both the hosts and South Africa whom they are pooled with.
Also in the squad are veteran batsman Vusi Sibanda and Stuart Matsikenyeri as well as bowler Raymond Price.
Makoni said that in coming up with the squad they were going for experience while also taking into account recent statistics.
Coach Alan Butcher, who was also at the press briefing, said that preparations had gone well adding that he was impressed with the level of performance.
“I was pleased mostly with the effort the guys were putting, I actually told them that the quality of practice sessions is higher than I have seen in the last 18 months,” said Butcher. “The guys are very confident after some good performances in the recent series and I hope they take the same confidence to Sri Lanka.”
Butcher said that in recent weeks the technical team has been working on fine-tuning certain aspects of the game after so many positives from the tri-series in that format of the game.
He was mostly impressed with the fielding which he noted had improved and hopes the team can take that in to the world cup.
The top two teams in each pool qualify for the Super Eights and that will be Zimbabwe’s target however daunting considering the quality of opposition.
Zimbabwe’s squad features three specialist spinners and only has Elton Chigumbura as a genuine all-rounder.
World Cup squad
Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer, Raymond Price, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Richard Muzhange, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya and Forster Mutizwa.