The BancABC U13 Weeks begins today, with matches to be played at Prince Edward School until Thursday (8th). Here's the schedule, for anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of future talent:
5 December Eagles v Rhinos Jubilee Mountaineers v Rocks Chapel Tuskers v Development XI Hospital 6 December Tuskers v Mountaineers Jubilee Eagles v Rocks Chapel Development XI v Rhinos Hospital 7 December Rhinos v Rocks Jubilee Mountaineers v Development XI Chapel Eagles v Tuskers Hospital 8 December Winner A v Winner B Jubilee #2 A v #2 B Chapel #3 A v #3 B Hospital Group A: Eagles, Rhinos, Tuskers Group B: Mountaineers, Rocks, Development XI
ZC are at pains to point out that this is a development tournament, and as such there'll be no declared winner.
Alistair Campbell has stepped down from his position as chairman of selectors with immediate effect.
Since his appointment to the post in July 2009, Campbell has had the dual responsibilities of both convener of selectors and chairman of the ZC board's cricket committee. He expressed the desire to concentrate on his activities with the Cricket Committee as well as his work as a cricket commentator.
"It has been the greatest of pleasures to select the sides that have spearheaded Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket and I feel now that it would be best to concentrate my expertise on governing the structure of the game as part of the cricket committee. I have every confidence in the panel I leave behind and look forward to watching teams that are a true representation of the vast amount of talent and experience we have in this country," said Campbell.
Campbell will be replaced by former wicketkeeper batsman Wayne James. James played four Tests and eleven One Day Internationals for Zimbabwe and will join Kevin Curran and Givemore Makoni on the selection panel.
Zimbabwe Cricket has issued the following advisory regarding the injuries to Elton Chigumbura, Keegan Meth and Graeme Cremer:
Elton Chigumbura was withdrawn from the Zimbabwe squad for the one-off Test match against Pakistan after he failed to recover from a left knee bruise injury first sustained in the penultimate ODI against Bangladesh two Sundays ago. Although Elton later on played through the last ODI, and rested the knee from bowling leading up to the Pakistan series, his situation still impeded his bowling upon resuming bowling.
Team physiotherapist Amato Machikicho confirmed that Chigumbura returned to Harare for probable radiological diagnostics and an opinion from an orthopaedic specialist.
"An MRI scan request has been made so a definitive diagnosis and therefore management timeframe may be specified for Elton's condition sooner rather than later" Machikicho said. "Elton has an appointment with our (ZIM Cricket) Medical Services providers in Harare this afternoon and their findings will guide our management of the player here onwards."
Meanwhile, Tuskers all rounder Keegan Meth continues to make steady progress after the frightening facial injury he suffered during the final ODI against Bangladesh in Bulawayo on August 21st. Meth had three teeth knocked out in attempting to field a ball off his own bowling but is healing well.
"Keegan came down to Bulawayo for a weekend visit. He is looking better and his wounds largely healed and still has stitches on his lower and upper lips. He is now eating solids again, he is going to resume physical training i.e. aerobics and strength reconditioning. We will find out next week if the othordentistry will start or not, in which case he will need further out of the game out of the game or he will resume cricket training," said Machikicho.
Meanwhile, leg spinner Graeme Cremer is set to make his return to cricket soon. Cremer underwent knee surgery five weeks ago and he is making good progress with his recovery and rehabilitation: "Graeme has been doing some light running for two weeks and is training in Harare and making progress. He will be assessed when the team gets back to Harare after the first ODI against Pakistan," Machikicho added.
Particularly good to hear the Meth is making progress, as that did look a horrific injury. He's been spotted at the Test against Pakistan today, wearing a protective mask over his injury, and we hope he's back in action soon.
If you were watching today's ODI, you'll have seen Zim bowler Keegan Meth sustain a very nasty-looking injury when his final delivery of the Bangladesh innings was hit back at him - unable to get out of the way in time, Meth took the ball in the face, and had to be stretchered from the field. He was subsequently taken to hospital in Bulawayo and was unable to bat in Zimbabwe's innings. Zimbabwe Cricket have issued the following statement on his injuries:
Keegan Meth was withdrawn from the final UCB ODI match between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo, on Sunday. He sustained a mouth injury off the last ball of the Bangladesh innings when he had a direct ball blow straight onto his mouth after Nasir Hossain played a shot back to him.
Meth lost three upper row teeth on impact and a laceration of his lower lip. The doctor on call at the venue attended to the Meth's lower lip wound which was sutured at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo where he was attended to by a dentist.
The extent of the damage on Meth's jaws and mouth can only be ascertained after X ray examination and the dentist's report tomorrow. "Due to the extent of the injury we had to rush him [Meth] to the hospital. He will have to go for X-Rays tomorrow to establish the nature of the dental injury. He will require some orthodentistry for the three teeth and any other possible injuries that might have ensued from the impact," said Zimbabwe National team physiotherapist, Amato Machikicho.
Keegan was able to join the rest of the team during Zimbabwe's innings and also partook in the celebrations thereafter.
Considering how nasty the incident looked on TV, I'm pleased to hear that it wasn't any worse - although it's still a fairly major injury, by cricketing standards. Hopefully the x-rays don't reveal any additional damage, and we wish Keegan a speedy recovery.
Zimbabwe Cricket have issued the following statement regarding Tatenda Taibu's comments, made yesterday, criticising the organisation for, amongst other things, failing to pay its players. Reproduced in full.
Zimbabwe Cricket would like to express its concern and regret over the comments made by former captain Tatenda Taibu in an article on Cricinfo on Tuesday.
So many people have worked tirelessly and selflessly to rebuild cricket in this country throughout an extremely difficult, economic period and for Tatenda to claim that their collective efforts have been worthless - and that nothing has changed - is dispiriting in the extreme.
We would like to address every one of Tatenda's grievances as soon as the Test match is over - and those of any team member. In the meantime, we would like to announce that we have already started the process of improving our mechanisms for communication whereby the players will be able to speak to the administrators and express their concerns in a clear and forthright manner, and without fear of repercussion or reprisal.
We are happy to involve a third party as a players' representative and, indeed, an independent mediator. We would like Tatenda to participate in this process. And while the ICC's chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, is here to witness our return to Test cricket, we will be extending an invitation for him to talk to our players.
The timing of Tatenda's comments are unfortunate, if not a little cynical. In any other country a senior player could expect significant sanction from his board for such a public outburst. But we see little point in doing that and wish him the very best in the Test match. He is one of our finest cricketers.
Neither Tatenda nor any of the other national players have ever not been paid their monthly salary. Match fees, paid over and above salaries, have been deferred from time to time while cash-flow improves with our return to international cricket. Tatenda is in an extremely privileged position and his monthly salary places him in the top one percent of the population.
There are many thousands of people less well off than Tatenda who could be seriously harmed by his comments.
Cricket in Zimbabwe is not "dying." We are still building, but every aspect of the game, from the numbers of professional players to the interest from sponsors, shows a graph on the way up. And we are all committed to further growth and success.
We now hope to focus on an extremely exciting season ahead.
Ozias Bvute, managing director, Zimbabwe Cricket
Alistair Campbell, chairman of selectors, Zimbabwe Cricket
Cricinfo have been speaking to Tatenda Taibu on the eve of Zimbabwe's Test return on Thursday, and the former captain has used the opportunity to confirm some rumours that have been milling around for the past few months, and to take a few shots at ZC. A few "highlights":
"I don't think much has changed really, the administration is still struggling to run cricket in the country well. For example, the guys haven't been paid their match fees from August last year up to now. At the moment, I am sitting here without a contract, no one has got a contract; those are all things that the administration is struggling to deal with."
"When you walk around and you see a house that's painted well, you will think that house is really standing strong but if does not have a strong foundation, it will fall down one day or another. Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has just painted a house that's about to fall."
He's not saying anything that those of us following the game haven't heard already, but it has to be said that the timing of his outburst is at best unfortunate. I'd recommend heading over to Cricinfo and reading the full article.
Cricinfo - Taibu slams board on eve of Test return
Zimbabwe Cricket have named the following 13-man squad for Thursday's Test match against Bangladesh:
Brendan Taylor (captain), Regis Chakabva, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Hamilton Masakadza, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Keegan Meth, Christopher Mpofu, Raymond Price, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori.
Zimbabwe XI got off to a flyer in the opening match of their tri-series against South Africa A and Australia A, with the Aussies reaching a sub-par 232/8 from 50 overs after winning the toss and opting to bat. On a rare day where the spinner failed to exert their usual choke-hold (Ray Price went wicketless in his 10 overs, conceding 52), Chris Mpofu led the attack, taking 3/30 from his spell, while Keegan Meth, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya and Hamilton Masakadza each chipped in with one apiece. Superb fielding from Vusi Sibanda also helped account for the wicket of Steve O'Keefe, run out for just 2.
Nick Maddinson (63) and Callum Ferguson (52) had put on a good show for Aussies near the top of the order, but with few of their team-mates able to push on - Tim Paine's unbeaten 37 was the only other score of note - it was the Aussies who were under pressure for most of the innings. And who would have expected that.
That left Zimbabwe requiring 233 to win at 4.66/over from their innings - but once again, our batting inconsistency cost us once again. The top three of Taylor (17), Sibanda (37) and Masakadza (57) put in decent performances - it seems that a spell on the sidelines has done a world of good for Vusi and Hamilton, at least - but from there on down the only word is "woeful", as not one of the remaining players reached double figures. Their downfall was in no small part down to the combined efforts of Nathan Lyon (4/22 from 7 overs) and John Hastings (3/22 from 9), who had the measure of their opponents and simply took us to pieces.
After the early promise that our bowlers gave us, then, this can only count as a disappointing result - and given that it's the same old problem, all over again, has to raise questions about just what's being done to work around our batting fragility. Full scorecard below the cut; tomorrow's match is South Africa A v Australia A.
Australia A 232/8 (50 overs; Maddinson 63, Mpofu 3/30), Zimbabwe XI 142 (39 overs; Masakadza 57, Lyon 4/22). Australia A win by 90 runs.
The ICC have released their Future Tours Programme up until early 2020. You can find the full version on the ICC website (.pdf document), but here are the relevant bits for Zimbabwe:
2011 July - August Bangladesh in Zimbabwe 1 Test, 5 ODIs September Pakistan in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs October - November New Zealand in Zimbabwe 1 Test, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is 2012 January Zimbabwe in New Zealand 1 Test, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is August - September Bangladesh in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is December - January Pakistan in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is 2013 March Zimbabwe in West Indies 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is July India in Zimbabwe 3 ODIs October Sri Lanka in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs 2014 June - July Australia in Zimbabwe 3 ODIs July - August South Africa in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is October Zimbabwe in Bangladesh ODI Tri-Series (with Sri Lanka), 2 Tests December Zimbabwe in Pakistan 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is 2015 February - March ICC World Cup in Australia & New Zealand April - May Zimbabwe in Sri Lanka 5 ODIs, 2 T20Is June Pakistan in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 1 T20I July - August West Indies in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is October New Zealand in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs 2016 January - February Zimbabwe in Bangladesh 2 Tests, 7 ODIs, 2 T20Is March Zimbabwe in New Zealand 3 ODIs March - April ICC World Twenty20 in India July - August India in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs October - November Sri Lanka in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is 2017 No fixtures 2018 March - April Pakistan in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 1 T20I June Zimbabwe in Australia 2 Tests, 3 ODIs July Pakistan in Zimbabwe 3 ODIs, 2 T20Is August New Zealand in Zimbabwe 3 ODIs October Zimbabwe in South Africa 3 ODIs, 1 T20I 2019 January - February Zimbabwe in Bangladesh 2 Tests, 3 ODIs October Zimbabwe in Sri Lanka 5 ODIs, 2 T20Is 2020 March - April Bangladesh in Zimbabwe 2 Tests, 3 ODIs
2017 is bloody strange, with no fixtures at all, while those with eagle eyes will notice the complete absence of England from the fixture list, at least as far as we're concerned. Other than that, it's probably as good as can be expected, with the weaker Test sides featuring far more heavily than the big boys - as was always the plan as part of our "staged return".
After confirming Taylor as captain, ZC seem to have thrown Vusi Sibanda a bone by naming him captain for a 2-day warm-up match against Australia 'A'. Here are the two squads:
Brendan Taylor (Captain), Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Hamilton Masakadza, Keegan Meth, Christopher Mpofu, Forster Mutizwa, Raymond Price, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller.
Warm-Up Match against Australia 'A' (Kwekwe Sports Club, 11-12 July)
Vusimuzi Sibanda, Regis Chakabva, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Kyle Jarvis, Gregory Lamb, Shingirai Masakadza, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Natsai Mushangwe, Forster Mutizwa, Njabulo Ncube, Tinashe Panyangara, Malcolm Waller.
The squad for the two 4-day matches against Australia 'A' will be announced in due course.