Sean Williams will captain Zimbabwe for their upcoming two-Test home series against Sri Lanka starting on January 19. One-third of the players he leads though have never played the longest format.
Among the five uncapped players is Charlton Tshuma, the pacer included after a bicep injury to Tendai Chatara ruled him out of the series. His domestic teammates Victor Nyauchi and Brian Mudzinganyama are also in line for a Test debut with opening batsman Kevin Kasuza and spinner Ainsley Ndlovu rounding out the rookies in the squad.
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The biggest exclusion, meanwhile, is that of PJ Moor, the wicketkeeper batsman among the mainstays of the Zimbabwean setup of late. In their most recent international game, he scored an unbeaten 60-ball 92 against Singapore in the last game of a T20I tri-series.
Another omission that raised eyebrows was Ryan Burl’s, whose exploits in the Bangladesh Premier League, particularly with the ball, have garnered acclaim. A reputation for being an aggressive batsman may have done his chances more harm than good, even though of late, he told ESPNcricinfo he had been working to mould his game to first-class cricket. He will have to wait to add to the solitary Test cap he currently has, which came in the four-day Test against South Africa in 2017.
Regis Chakabva is the wicketkeeper, just as he was for the Zimbabwe’s last Test series, a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh at the back end of 2018. There are more familiar names in the squad, with Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Craig Ervine, Donald Tiripano and Kyle Jarvis all included. Both Tests will be played at the Harare Sports Club, with the first starting on January 19. This will be Zimbabwe’s first taste of Test cricket in over a year, and the first Test played in Zimbabwe since October 2017, after financial woes played a large part in preventing Zimbabwe from hosting international cricket.