Uncapped Bennett and Gwandu called up in Zimbabwe’s squad for Ireland T20Is

Uncapped Bennett and Gwandu called up in Zimbabwe’s squad for Ireland T20Is

By espncricinfo.com

HARARE: Zimbabwe have called up the uncapped duo of middle-order batter Brian Bennett and fast bowler Trevor Gwandu in their squad of 15 for the three T20Is against Ireland in Harare starting Thursday.

This will be Zimbabwe’s first series after they recently failed to qualify for next year’s T20 World Cup. Zimbabwe had finished third in the seven-team Africa Region Qualifier that saw Namibia and Uganda progress to the main tournament.

Experienced batter Craig Ervine, who had played just one game at the qualifying tournament before picking up a groin injury, is fit again and retained in the squad.

The Zimbabwe squad saw four changes overall: legspinner Brandon Mavuta and batting allrounder Tony Munyonga earned recalls, whereas fast bowler Tendai Chatara, left-arm spinner Wellington Masakadza and opening batters Innocent Kaia and Nick Welch were dropped.

Kaia and Welch had played three games each in the Africa qualifiers and scored just 62 and 39 runs respectively. Masakadza also featured in three games whereas Chatara got one, but they both picked just one wicket each and leaked over eight runs an over.

Mavuta, who has played nine T20Is, featured in the home ODIs against Netherlands earlier this year but last played a T20I in May 2022, at home opposite Namibia.

He has recently been scoring runs and picking up wickets for Rhinos in the domestic circuit and also helped them reach the Pro50 Championship final.

He finished the tournament with a batting average of 65 while scoring 195 runs in six innings, including three fifties, and was also his team’s top wicket-taker with a tally of 15 and an economy rate of just 4.84.

Munyonga, too, was prolific in the tournament; he finished as the second-highest scorer with a total of 389 runs that earned him an average of 55.57, with the help of one century and three half-centuries.

Munyonga has played 13 T20Is and makes a comeback after last playing against the same opposition he will play next – Ireland – also in a home T20I series earlier this year.

Bennett, 20, has played just five T20s so far and has also represented Zimbabwe Under-19s and Under-25s. Gwandu, 25, opened the bowling for Southern Rocks recently, for whom he played eight Pro50 Championship games and picked up 17 wickets, the second-most in the tournament.

The three T20Is will be played on December 7, 9 and 10 before the ODIs on December 13, 15 and 17, also in Harare.

Zimbabwe T20I squad for Ireland: Sikandar Raza (capt), Brian Bennett, Ryan Burl, Craig Ervine, Trevor Gwandu, Luke Jongwe, Clive Madande, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Brandon Mavuta, Carl Mumba, Tony Munyonga, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Sean Williams