FORMER Zimbabwe batsman Mark Vermeulen will be watching from the sidelines when log leaders Mid West Rhinos resume their quest in the cricket Pro50 Championship this morning against hosts Mashonaland Eagles at Harare Sports Club.
Vermeulen is currently battling a groin injury and may be out for some time as health matters remain delicate in the Rhinos dressing room.
The aggressive top order batsman has been out of the game for the last month and has been joined among the casualties by fast bowler Edward Rainsford.
Rhinos coach Grant Flower yesterday said the duo has since been dropped for the top-of-the-table clash.
Good news, nonetheless, is that Mike Chinouya could be making a comeback to the team.
Flower said following a two-week break for the festive holidays, Rhinos are looking to maintain their good form in the Pro50 Championship after making a fine start this season.
They will face Eagles again tomorrow in a T20 clash.
"In terms of preparations, we are okay but we haven't had much opportunity for practice this week because of the wet weather conditions.
"We also have injuries to some of our players like Edward Rainsford, who has a stomach problem, and Mark Vermeulen who is suffering from a groin injury.
"Vermeulen has been out for the last one month and is not available for this match.
"We are not sure about the extent of the injury.
"Only time will tell," said Flower.
Rhinos currently sit on top of the table with 19 points, two ahead of second-placed Eagles.
Flower's men have, however, played one game less and may increase their lead if they collect maximum points today.
Rhinos beat Eagles by four wickets when they met in the first round.
They have lost only once in six outings this season with the defeat coming at the hands of Matabeleland Tuskers who occupy third place in the race.
"We have done well so far in the season in the one day competition.
"Hopefully we will continue with this form.
"This one (against Eagles) is a very important game for both sides because only two points separate us on the log standings and may the best team on the day win," said Flower.
Eagles, now under coach Steve Mangongo, will be praying that weather will not play havoc again as their last two matches against Southern Rocks and Mountaineers were abandoned because of bad conditions, leading to the share of the spoils.
Matabeleland Tuskers will be hosting bottom-of-the-table side Southern Rocks at Queens Sports Club in a Pro50 match today and then clash in the Twenty20 competitions tomorrow at the same venue.
Mountaineers have a bye this weekend and will only resume their campaign against Rocks next Wednesday.