ZIMBABWE Cricket selectors have chosen an A team full of first-choice picks to play against Pakistan A in Bulawayo from today, in an effort to help them prepare for the Tests against Sri Lanka, which begins on October 29.
Out of the 24 men picked to play two four-day matches, only three have yet to play international cricket — batsman Tarisai Musakanda and seamers Carl Mumba and Victor Nyauchi — and 16 had been involved in Zimbabwe’s most recent Tests, against New Zealand in July and August.
The A series also presents opportunity for Brian Vitori, the 26-year-old fast bowler, to end a three-month streak without competitive cricket.
It has been a lot longer since he played for Zimbabwe; his last match was in January 2016.
But he is part of the 12-member squad to play the first four-day game against Pakistan A at Queens Sports Club.
He has Donald Tiripano, Chris Mpofu and Michael Chinouya as seam-bowling partners.
With a host of part-time spinners available, only one specialist has been picked — Graeme Cremer, the Zimbabwe captain.
The second game — scheduled for October 15 — could feature Elton Chigumbura, who had been left out of senior team when they played New Zealand in July.
Also in the mix is medium-pacer Njabulo Ncube, who had come back from a three-year break from first-class cricket in July 2016.
He had also been in the squad for the Tests against New Zealand but did not play.
Tendai Chatara and Tinashe Panyangara, who were unable to play in that New Zealand series as a result of ankle and back injuries respectively, were not among the 24 men named to take on Pakistan A.
Squad for First unofficial Test: Tino Mawoyo, Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Peter Moor, Sikandar Raza, Malcolm Waller, Richmond Mutumbami, Graeme Cremer, Michael Chinouya, Donald Tiripano, Chris Mpofu, Brian Vitori
Squad for second unofficial Test: Brian Chari, Chamu Chibhabha, Tarisai Musakanda, Sean Williams, Prince Masvaure, Elton Chigumbura, Regis Chakabva, John Nyumbu, Victor Nyauchi, Carl Mumba, Njabulo Ncube, Taurai Muzarabani