HARARE – Zimbabwe cricket selectors have kept the faith in hard-working wicketkeeper batsman Regis Chakabva rewarding him with another chance to keep the wicket after he was named in the squad to face South Africa in the historic four-day Test on Boxing Day.
The 30-year-old Mashonaland Eagles player had a shaky start to the two-match Test series against West Indies in Bulawayo in October dropping several catches behind the stumps while his batting was way below his usual standards.
He scored 12 and one run in the respective innings in the first Test match that the host lost by 117 runs prompting calls of him being dropped with many suggesting that the returning wicketkeeper batsman Brendan Taylor should assume the wicket keeping duties.
Chakabva seemed to continue with his batting woes though not alone managing just 10 runs in the first innings of the second Test before he hit the right code in the second innings with a commendable and mature innings batting display.
He was unbeaten on 71 runs from 192 balls as he engineered Zimbabwe’s memorable draw together with captain Graeme Cremer who was also unbeaten on 28 from 150 balls. In his short Test career made up of 12 games Chakabva averages 28.09, since making his debut against New Zealand in Bulawayo in November 2011 has a Test century under his belt and four half tons.
Also in the squad is rising seamer Blessing Muzarabani from the youthful Rising Stars who’s poised for a Test debut following his exploits with the ball in the domestic Logan Cup competition whose major highlight was the five-wicket hall against Matebeleland Tuskers in Kwekwe in October.
The towering pace bowler, who is nephew to national team fringe seamer Taurai Muzarabani, was the roc on which Rising Stars maiden Logan Cup victory, a convincing 268-run against a fancied Tuskers side was built upon.
“I saw this boy’s talent and potential two years ago and I’m not even surprised that he has received his national team call-up this early. He’s still a young man, lots of energy to hit the deck and if it’s not the sky I don’t know what else could be the limit for him,” his uncle Taurai Muzarabani told the Daily News.
Another Rising Star Ryan Burl has made it into the squad that has claimed the scalp of senior players Malcolm Waller and Sean Williams while pace bowler Tendai Chatara also makes his return to the Test side after missing out on the West Indies series.
Zimbabwe Test Squad for South Africa:
Graeme Cremer (Captain), Hamilton Masakadza , Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Regis Chakabva (wicketkeeper), Sikandar Raza Butt, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chisoro, Peter Moor, Solomon Mire, Kyle Jarvis, Christopher Mpofu.