Zimbabwe picks Utseya for WCup despite bowling restrictions
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Struggling Zimbabwe included Prosper Utseya in its Cricket World Cup squad on Wednesday despite the ICC placing restrictions on his bowling.
But opening batsman Vusi Sibanda was left out of new coach Dav Whatmore’s final 15-man squad for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand starting next month. Stuart Matsikenyeri was called out of retirement to replace Sibanda.
Spinner Utseya was suspended last year while the ICC reviewed his action, and although he has been cleared to play, he can bowl only medium-pacers and not his favored offspin.
Sibanda was dropped after an extended run of poor form, with his last half-century in one-day cricket back in 2013.
Zimbabwe also picked batsman Sean Williams after his fallout with former coach Stephen Mangongo. Mangongo was fired last month and replaced by the ex-Sri Lanka and Bangladesh coach Whatmore, who is Australian.
“It is a short period of time to come up with the team, but I also had the good fortune to be an opposition coach against the Zimbabwe team for many years,” Whatmore said.
Captain and allrounder Elton Chigumbura, and batsmen Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza are the most experienced players.
Whatmore has a short-term deal for the World Cup, and could extend his stay with a new agreement after the showpiece.
Zimbabwe’s struggles under Mangongo were starkly underlined on the recent tour of Bangladesh, where the southern Africans lost all three tests and all five one-day internationals. Utseya and Williams both missed the tour.
Whatmore appears to see the need for change, with Sibanda out and batsman Matsikenyeri recalled for the World Cup having not played for his country in ODIs for nearly three years. Matsikenyeri retired from internationals to take up a job coaching at a school.
Batsman Chamu Chibhabha and seam bowler Tawanda Mupariwa were also surprise inclusions, with Mupariwa’s last ODI six years ago.
Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (captain), Sikandar Raza Butt, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Prosper Utseya, Tawanda Mupariwa, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Solomon Mire, Tinashe Panyangara, Tendai Chatara.