ZIMBABWE Cricket's charm to bring the talents scattered across the world back home appears to be bearing fruit after all-rounder Solomon Mire announced he has returned to the Chevrons fold ahead of their one-day international series at home to Afghanistan. The 27-year-old big hitter last played for Zimbabwe against India at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, before returning to his base in Australia where he had been starring in club cricket since 2012.
But in a major coup for Zimbabwe Cricket, which has been making concerted efforts to bring back lost talent to the national fold, Mire this week committed to playing for his country once again.
"It's great to be back in red and I'm looking forward to some exciting action," Mire said. His return was welcomed by Zimbabwe head coach Heath Streak, who revealed he had included the all-rounder in his plans for the five-match ODI series against Afghanistan starting in Harare next week.
"We are excited to have Solomon back in Zimbabwe colours and look forward to his contribution to the team. He will add balance to the team with his all-round ability and his inclusion will definitely strengthen our squad for Afghanistan," Streak said.
Before going back to Australia where he has featured for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash, Mire had played 10 ODIs for Zimbabwe since making his debut against Bangladesh in November 2014. The selectors have picked a 14-man squad for the series against Afghanistan. The squad blends youth and experience after the selectors decided to give uncapped players Nathan Waller and Ryan Burl a call.
Tarisai Musakanda, who has shown great promise in the batting line-up, has also been included alongside regulars Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza, Craig Ervine and skipper Graeme Cremer. However Sean Williams, Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha and Tendai Chisoro were all left out after failing a fitness test.
Williams has been struggling with a back injury.
Two more players who impress during this weekend's domestic provincial one-day competition will be added to the national squad.
The start of Zimbabwe's premier domestic one-day competition, the Pro50 Championship, has been brought forward to this weekend, replacing the Logan Cup fixtures originally scheduled to commence today.
Harare Metropolitan Eagles will host Manicaland Mountaineers at Harare Sports Club, while Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers will lock horns with Midlands Rhinos at Queens Sports Club in the 50-over fixtures.
Eagles will be at home again on Sunday when they take on Rhinos, with Tuskers facing Mountaineers at Queens Sports Club in the second round of the one-day provincial competition.
This season's Pro50 Championship was originally scheduled to start in May, but Zimbabwe Cricket decided to revise the fixtures in the wake of the upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan in Harare.
The provincial one-day matches are meant to help Zimbabwe prepare for that limited-overs series.
Eagles are the defending champions, having won the 2015/16 edition by finishing top of the table by a large margin and remaining undefeated - the only match they failed to win was their Mutare fixture against Mountaineers, which was rain-affected and ended due to bad light just as Eagles appeared to be on the point of claiming a remarkable victory.
The Logan Cup action will resume on 21 February 2017.
Zim squad for Afghanistan
Graeme Cremer (captain), Peter Joseph Moor (Wkt), Ryan Burl, Tarisai Musakanda, Sikandar Raza,
Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara,
Christopher Mpofu, Nathan Waller, Craig Ervine, Solomon Mire.