NATIONAL cricket team players finally resumed training yesterday with coach Andy Waller naming a revised provisional squad of 23 players which includes Dubai-based Charles Coventry, who had previously ruled out a return to the side.
Waller said the technical department had resolved to reduce the squad due to the time lost during the standoff between the players and the board over unpaid wages and bonuses.
However only 16 players took part in the team’s fielding session in the morning while some players were expected to join the squad before the fitness tests which were scheduled in the afternoon.
The changes to the squad saw seamers Richard Muzhange, Tawanda Mupariwa, Ed Rainsford, Taurai Muzarabani, Trevor Garwe and batsmen Kevin Kasuza and Cephas Zhuwao failing to make the cut.
Waller however said they could still make the squad if they played well in the domestic Twenty20 Competition which gets underway at Harare Sports Club on Monday.
“We have reduced the squad to 21 players. There are two more guys who are joining us Tino Mawoyo and Richmond Mutumbami. We felt because of the time lapse, we had to cut down. The guys who have been left out are pretty much the seam bowlers who we felt were not going to make it but it still doesn’t mean that the guys who have been left out can’t make the side.
“If they have a very good Twenty20 they can come back, but for me to try and handle 30 people on fielding is just going to be a waste of time so we didn’t want a situation like that.”
On the issue of Coventry, Waller said he was confident; the aggressive batsman would come back to the side although he initially pulled out of preliminary squad for the ICC World Twenty20 competition last month.
“Charles Coventry is definitely part of the squad.
“It’s his decision whether to make the squad because I have made it very clear to him that if he wants to he has to come and play in the Twenty20 tournament. So he’ll have to buy his own ticket from Dubai to play in it and I think it’s worth his while to do that and I’m hoping he does,” Waller said.
The 54-year-old coach, who will be leading Zimbabwe to their first major tournament at the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, said he was happy with the fitness levels of his players.
Revised Provisional Squad:
Brendan Taylor (captain), Sikandar Raza Butt, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Michael Chinouya, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingi Masakadza, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Chris Mpofu, Natsai M’shangwe, Forster Mutizwa, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Richmond Mutumbami, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusi Sibanda, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams, Charles Coventry