Harare, Jan 4 (IANS) Gary Ballance is set to make his debut for Zimbabwe after he was named in the squad for three-match T20I series against Ireland. He is one of the four changes made to the 15-man side that represented Zimbabwe at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia in October-November.
Apart from Ballance, the other new faces in the squad are Tadiwanashe Marumani, Innocent Kaia and Victor Nyauchi. Fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani, who is recovering from a quadriceps injury, has also missed out on selection alongside wicketkeeper-batter Regis Chakabva and batter Milton Shumba.
Ballance, who played 23 Tests and 16 ODIs for England between 2014 and 2017, had signed a two-year contract to play domestic and international cricket in and for the country of his birth following his release from county cricket side Yorkshire.
Star all-rounder Sikandar Raza – who is in the running for the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year, ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year and ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year awards – will not feature in the T20Is against Ireland after Zimbabwe Cricket granted him the permission to play franchise cricket elsewhere.
With captain Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava all available, Zimbabwe will be at near-full strength when they face Ireland at Harare Sports Club.
The T20I matches will be played on January 12, 14 and 15. This will be followed by the three-match ODI series between the two sides set for January 18, 21 and 23, also at Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe Cricket also said that in agreement with Cricket Ireland, the second ODI will now be played on January 21 instead of the original date on January 20 due to anticipation of high spectator turnout.
“We are grateful to our colleagues at Cricket Ireland for agreeing to tweak the schedule a bit by moving the second ODI initially scheduled for a Friday to the next day in order to give our fans an opportunity to come out and enjoy the action on a day when most of them are not at work.”
“It’s now over to our fans to turn up in their numbers, like they have been doing in the last six months, and make this another memorable series pitting two exciting sides against each other,” said Hamilton Masakadza, ZC Director of Cricket.
Squad: Craig Ervine (captain), Gary Ballance, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Clive Madande, Wesley Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Sean Williams