Raza returns to lead Chevrons Raza, who celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday, will lead a 15-member squad that is scheduled to fly out on Saturday for the series, which gets underway on May 3 in Chattogram.

Brandon Moyo-Sports Reporter

SIKANDAR Raza is leaving the ongoing 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) to join the Chevrons for their up-coming five-match T20I series against Bangladesh early next month.

Raza, who celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday, will lead a 15-member squad that is scheduled to fly out on Saturday for the series, which gets underway on May 3 in Chattogram.

The team includes one uncapped player, Johnathan Campbell, who has been doing well in the domestic set-up while batter Tadiwanashe Marumani and all-rounder Faraz Akram have been recalled. 

The rest of the selected players were part of the squad for Zimbabwe’s last T20I series away to Sri Lanka in January. 

They include the veterans Craig Ervine and Sean Williams, pacemen Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani as well as the young guns Clive Madande and Brian Bennett. 

Madande, Bennett, and Campbell were part of the Zimbabwe emerging men’s team that won a gold medal at the 13th African Games in Ghana last month. 

With ZC yet to appoint a new head coach, Stuart Matsikenyeri will be in charge of Zimbabwe against Bangladesh. 

As part of their preparations for the series, the Chevrons held a training camp in Bulawayo where they had intra-squad matches at Queens Sports Club. 

The team chose to practice at the Queens Sports Club wicket as it resembles the conditions they expect to find in Bangladesh.

Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are scheduled to play five T20Is which the Tigers will be using as part of their preparations for the T20 World Cup that will be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States of America. 

The first three matches will be played in Chattogram from next Friday, while the last two will be in Dhaka. 

The last time the two teams played against each other in a bilateral T20I series was in July of 2022 in Harare, and the Chevrons won the three-match series 2-1. 

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s top brass is not dancing to the same tune regarding some of their players for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe. 

The BCB Director, Akram Khan is of the view that the in-form fast bowler, Mustafizur Rahman is better off playing in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings and will be excused for national team duty. 

The seamer was given a No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the BCB to play in the IPL until May 1, two days before the start of the series against Zimbabwe but Khan believes the bowler is better off at Chennai. 

“Mustafizur is the type of bowler who will give the team benefit if he is utilised properly, and Dhoni’s team is certainly doing that at the moment. 

“The way Mustafizur bowled according to plan against Kolkata, I think he is benefiting greatly playing for Chennai. It means that Bangladesh, too, will benefit from him.

“I think he will learn more playing in the IPL than playing against Zimbabwe. He is spending time with big players in the CSK dressing room. He is playing with different types of players,” said Khan.

Zimbabwe Tour of Bangladesh fixtures:

First T20I: May 3, Second T20I: May 5, Third T20I: May 7, (First Three will be played in Chattogram)

Fourth T20I: May 10, Fifth T20I: May 12, (Final Two games will be played in Dhaka)

Zimbabwe T20I Squad for Bangladesh

Sikandar Raza (captain), Faraz Akram, Brian Bennett, Ryan Burl, Johnathan Campbell, Craig Ervine, Joylord Gumbie, Luke Jongwe, Clive Madande, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Blessing Muzarabani, Ainsley Ndlovu, Richard Ngarava, Sean Williams.

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