ZIMBABWE Cricket selectors are confident former skipper Elton Chigumbura will be able to turn around his game by the time they compete at the ICC World Twenty20 in India next month after the all-rounder was named in a familiar 15-men team to represent the nation at the tournament.
Chigumbura, who is currently playing for Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League, has been struggling with his game of late and has decided to step down from the captaincy to lighten his load.
ZC convener of selectors Kenyon Ziehl yesterday said the 29-year old was chosen on the basis of his experience and have tipped him to rise at the big stage.
Chigumbura has managed only 26 runs in his last eight T20 matches with a best of eight against Afghanistan last month in Sharjah. His poor run continued yesterday when he was dismissed for a golden duck in the PSL match against Peshawar Zalmi.
“Yes Elton is out of form at the moment but he has experience under his belt. Currently he is playing in Pakistan and we are hopeful he will be able to rise at the big stage.
“He is one of the all-rounders that we have selected in the team, with the other one being Luke Jongwe,” said Ziehl.
The squad will assemble tomorrow and they have three weeks to prepare for the World Cup.
Zimbabwe are expected to travel to the United Arab Emirates this week where they will play practice games with West Indies before heading to India for more warm up matches.
Zimbabwe cricket selectors are also hoping to strike gold with the big gamble they made by recalling Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara who had been out for some time with injuries. Chatara has been on the sidelines since April last year when he fractured his left leg and only returned to competitive cricket last month while Panyangara was battling with a back injury which made him unavailable for the Chevrons’ recent assignments.
The selectors however, retained most of the players who took part in the Bangladesh tour as they made only three changes by replacing Brian Vitori and Taurai Muzarabani with Panyangara and Chatara while opening batsman Chamu Chibhabha was dropped.
“With Chamu, it’s unfortunate that we have two or three opening batsmen in the team who are ahead of him at the moment. So we have had to balance the team.
“But we are excited to have our full squad for the tournament especially with the return of Panyangara and Chatara from injuries. These are some of our key players and it’s wonderful to have them back in the team. Chatara was out for some time but he has been playing some games of late.
“He also featured in Bulawayo and showed good pace and accuracy although we feel he still needs some more practice, which we have in the six or so warm up games before the World T20 tournament.
“Panyangara also bowled and we are happy he is getting back to full fitness. He is on the way to recovery and we are still monitoring him. So we selected Donald Tiripano as cover,” said Ziehl.
Zimbabwe picked six batmen and three specialist spinners in Graeme Cremer, Tendai Chisoro and Wellington Masakadza while Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza can also be used as part time spinners.
The Chevrons will start this year’s tournament in the preliminary round. They are in Group B where they will meet bogey side Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Scotland.
If Zimbabwe sail through from their group, they will join England, South Africa, defending champions Sri Lanka and the West Indies in the Super 10 stage.
The format of the tournament is such that the top eight ICC Full Member countries at the time of the draw have an automatic qualification to the Super 10 while the bottom two full members at the time of the draw, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, engage in play-offs with the Associate members.
Bangladesh highlights Group A which also has Ireland, the Netherlands and debutants Oman. The winner of Group A will join Australia, India, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Zimbabwe T20 squad
Hamilton Masakadza (capt), Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara, Wellington Masakadza, Tinashe Panyangara, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Luke Jongwe, Tendai Chisoro, Neville Madziva, Malcolm Waller, Vusi Sibanda and Graeme Cremer; Donald Tiripano (stand-by)