Story by Lawrence Trusida, Sports Editor
Zimbabwe Cricket has released a 14-man squad to face the West Indies in a two-match test series beginning on Saturday at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
The Chevrons will be missing five key players in captain Sean Williams who is recovering from a finger fracture, while bowlers Blessing Muzarabani and Tendai Chatara are also out through injury.
All-rounders Sikander Raza and Ryan Burl are also unavailable as they have been granted permission to play Franchise Cricket outside the country.
Their absence has opened up opportunities in the Zimbabwean squad for players who have been enjoying good form in the domestic first-class competition, the Logan Cup, among them the uncapped quartet of wicketkeeper-batters Tafadzwa Tsiga and Joylord Gumbie as well as opening batters Kudzai Maunze and Tanunurwa Makoni.
Meanwhile, Gary Ballance is in line to make his debut after he was named in the 14-man squad.
The left-handed batter recently committed to playing for his country of birth after he had previously featured in 23 Tests for England, scoring 1 498 runs with four centuries and seven fifties at an average of 37.45.
The trio of top-order batter Innocent Kaia and seamers Bradley Evans and Tanaka Chivanga is also in line to make their Test debuts after they were picked to face the West Indies.
Donald Tiripano and Chamunorwa Chibhabha have been recalled to add some experience to the side, while Victor Nyauchi, Wellington Masakadza, Richard Ngarava, Brandon Mavuta and Milton Shumba will be looking to make an impression in the longest version of the game.
The first Test is scheduled for the 4th to the 8th of this month, with the second starting on the 12th.