MID-West Rhinos seamer, Richard Muzhange, has been rewarded for his consistency by earning a place in the Zimbabwe side for the Twenty20 ICC World Cup in Sri Lanka next month. The 21-year-old right-arm fast bowler is the only new face in the 15-man senior squad announced by the ZC yesterday.
The ICC had originally set a deadline of Saturday, August 18, but have now moved that back to Friday, August 24, for members to submit their 15-player squads.
Muzhange is currently rated as one of the most promising cricketers after he worked and improved under Aussie pace legend Jason Gillespie who was the Mid West coach.
Previously, Muzhange has played for the national Under-19 side and was part of the squad for the unofficial Tri-Nations series featuring Zimbabwe, South Africa and Bangladesh in June at Harare Sports Club.
But now Muzhange has been presented with a chance to earn his official senior national team cap at the T20 World Cup.
The tournament begins in Sri Lanka on September 18 and runs until October 7.
Givemore Makoni, the ZC's convenor of selectors, yesterday said current form was key to Muzhange getting a call-up.
"We have used current form, based on the performances in the game.
"Also, we have used experience and we have noted that they are some guys who have played at the highest level before.
"And we have also used statistics from cricket analysis over the past season," said Makoni.
Makoni is optimistic that Muzhange has a bright future ahead of him.
"He has been the biggest find of the season.
"He was one of the top wicket-takers in the last series and this is what has earned him a place to Sri Lanka," said Makoni.
Makoni, however, bemoaned the loss of veteran wicket-keeper and batsman Tatenda Taibu who has decided to quit the sport.
"Taibu is one of the best players Zimbabwe has produced.
"He will be missed but the good thing is that a lot of players are being produced.
"It's a great loss but this is also an opportunity for the next guy who is in line to come," said Makoni.
National team captain Brendon Taylor is set to take over as the wicket-keeper while Foster Mutizwa will also provide cover for the same position.
Mutizwa has also earned a place in the team after recovering from an injury on his finger.
"Foster is back from injury and he is the second wicket-keeper to Brendon Taylor," said Makoni.
Shingi Masakadza has been placed as a non-travelling reserve.
"Shingi has done well in the past but in the recent past he has not raised his hand.
"Based on current form, there are people who had done better than him," said Makoni.
Zimbabwe will play hosts Sri Lanka in the opening match of the tournament and national team coach Allan Butcher is upbeat of a fine show.
"Our preparations have gone on well so far. We had a six-week camp and I am really pleased with the efforts put in by the players on the physical and tactical preparations.
"The quality of training they are having now has improved from more than 18 months ago," said Butcher.
Zimbabwe T20 squad
B. Taylor (capt), H. Masakadza, V. Sibanda, S. Matsikenyeri, M. Wailer, E. Chigumbura, C. Ervine, G. Creamer, R. Price, C. Jarvis, C. Mpofu, R. Muzhange, B. Vitori, P. Utseya, F. Mutizwa
Non-travelling reserves- R. Chakabva, T. Chatara, S. Masakadza, R. Mutumbami, T. Mutombodzi