Zimbabwe national cricket team, the Chevrons, will today plunge into battle with Ireland in their first of the three Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket showdowns at Harare Sports Club in the capital.
The Chevrons have been in camp since last week.
But the national cricket team will have to do without star player Sikandar Raza.
All-rounder, Raza, who is in the running for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Cricketer of the Year, ICC Men’s One Day International (ODI) Cricketer of the Year and ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year awards, will not feature for the Chevrons in the series against Ireland after the Zimbabwe Cricket granted him permission to play franchise cricket in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Raza will join the Chevrons for the ODIs that will follow the T20Is.
In the absence of Raza, the Chevrons coach, Dave Houghton, pins his hopes on captain Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara and Richard Charava. Former England left-handed batsman, Garry Ballance, is set to make his debut for Zimbabwe after he was named in the Chevron squad for this month’s three T20I series.
Ballance played 23 Tests and 16 One Day Internationals for England between 2014 and 2017.
He, however, recently signed a two year contract with Zimbabwe Cricket, after he was released by his former club, Yorkshire Country Cricket Club, in England.
Apart from Ballance, other new faces in the Chevron squad are Tadiwanashe Marumani, Innocent Kaia and Victor Nyauchi. The next T20I matches will be played on Saturday and Sunday.
The Chevrons will then collide with Ireland again in the three match ODI series on January 18, 21 and 23 at the same venue.
Zimbabwe T20I Squad
Ervine Craig (captain), Ballance Gary, Burl Ryan, Chatara Tendai, Evans Bradley, Jongwe Luke, Kaia Innocent, Madande Clive, Madhevere Wessly, Marumani Tadiwanashe, Masakadza Wellington, Munyonga
Tony, Ngarava Richard, Nyauchi Victor, Williams Sean.