Zimbabwe national cricket team middle-order batsman Sean Williams missed the team’s bonding trip to Gweru having also lost some days of training last week ahead of their important home limited overs series against Pakistan starting at the end of the month.
Convenor of selectors Kenyon Ziehl confirmed that Williams was not part of the squad that was, until today, having a week-long team bonding session at Antelope Park in Gweru. He added that the player had been given compassionate leave.
Zimbabwe will face Pakistan in two T-20s and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) in Harare with the first match on September 27.
While all the preparations have gone smoothly, the absence of Williams, one the best players in the squad, has raised concern, but Ziehl said the left-hander would join camp when the team returns from Gweru.
Most players contacted by IndependentSport, however, were not sure why Williams was absent for so long.
Some suggested he was unwell, while others said he had gone away without official leave.
Williams had a clash with former coach Steve Mangongo last year after skipping training and was subsequently left out of the squad that travelled to Bangladesh.
The team is expected to return to Harare today and will immediately get back to practice tomorrow.
Ziehl said there will be T-20 practice matches on Monday and Tuesday between the first team and a group of players angling for a place in the national squad.
“The preparations have gone on well so far, we are having an important bonding session here and we will be coming back to Harare on Friday (today),” said Ziehl.
“On Monday and Tuesday we will have practice matches between the first lX and the second group that is pushing for places in the first side.”
Pakistan this week named a strong squad that includes their big guns in the limited over versions captain by Azhar Ali (ODI) and Sahid Afridi (T-20).
Zimbabwe toured Pakistan in May where they lost all four matches, but competed well in both the T-20 and ODIs and will be hoping that this time they can cross the line.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board met and came up with the coaches to fill in vacant posts in the structures.
ZC has kept the names of new coaches under tight wraps with the announcements set to be made next week when chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani is back in the country.
IndependentSport has, however, established that Wayne James, Robin Brown, Shepherd Makunura and Stanley Timoni will get franchise coaching roles at Matabeleland Tuskers, MidWest Rhinos, Mountaineers and Mashonaland Eagles respectively.
The domestic season is set to start next month, but most of the national team players will miss it due to their busy international schedule.
The national Under-19 and Zim A squads have been waiting on the appointment of coaches for them to ramp up preparations for upcoming tours.