Sean Williams and Craig Ervine not back yet, Brendan Taylor to captain against Bangladesh
Allrounder Sikandar Raza is back for Zimbabwe following four months on the sidelines while he recovered from a serious bone-marrow infection. Raza was picked in a squad of 16 that will take on Bangladesh at home in a three-match ODI series from July 16.
Sean Williams and Craig Ervine, who were self-isolating during the one-off Test that preceded the ODI series, having come in contact with Covid-19-positive family members, are not back yet. A Zimbabwe Cricket media release said, “Although the duo returned negative coronavirus test results this week, the ZC medical team is making frantic efforts to ensure the two senior players first complete further health and fitness assessments before they can be allowed to join the squad in the bio-secure bubble.”
Brendan Taylor will captain the squad, which includes three batters who are uncapped in ODIs in Tadiwanashe Marumani, Dion Myers and Milton Shumba. Another inclusion of note is pacer Luke Jongwe, who returns to the one-day set-up after more than five years, though he has been a part of the Test and T20I sides in the interim.
Raza’s infection was at one point suspected to be cancerous. He underwent surgery on April 2 to remove a tumour, and the subsequent biopsies came back negative ruling out cancer. He had first felt severe pain in his right arm during the Zimbabwe-Afghanistan series in Abu Dhabi in March this year and, after returning to Harare, saw a specialist. Tests revealed it was more serious than just regular muscle pain, triggering urgent treatment and a long recuperation.
The ODI series against Bangladesh is part of the ICC’s Super League, which is a major qualification route to the 2023 World Cup, adding extra context to proceedings for both teams.
Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal voiced surprise that Zimbabwe had delayed naming their squad for this series, saying on the eve of the first ODI that it was hard for his team to plan. “We don’t know whom we are playing with,” Iqbal said. “It is less than 24 hours before the first ball being bowled, we don’t know about the team yet.
“It is a little different that we don’t know about their team. Normally this is the time when you have batting and bowling meetings, but I don’t know whom we are going to do the meetings about. It is kind of surprising.”