HARARE – Mashonaland Eagles batsman Cephas Zhuwao says he is not disappointed to have miss out on the squad travelling to South Africa for the historic Boxing Day following his recent heroics in which he scored 265 in a domestic Logan Cup match.
The 32 year old left hander smashed 265 runs, Zimbabwe’s third best individual First class score littered with 25 boundaries and 12 sixes and came just a run shot of former captain and coach Dave Houghton’s 266 runs in a Test match against Sri Lanka in 1994 and Ray Gripper’s 279 not out against Free State in the 1967/68 season.
This was his maiden Logan Cup hundred since making his debut as a 22 year in 2007 and it was double delight for the Glen View thorough bred cricketer as his knock inspired Mashonaland Eagles to a 167-run win over Mid West Rhinos at Harare Sports Club.
However, on Monday the national cricket selectors announced the 15-member squad set to depart for South Africa on Saturday and Zhuwao’s name was one of the few missing ones together with all-rounders Malcolm Waller and Sean Williams.
“On my side I knew that was the case probably the historic knock came in a bit too late to claim a stake in this historic four-day Test match against the Proteas on Boxing Day but I have proved beyond doubt I can equally play fit well in the longer version of the game,” Zhuwao told the Daily News yesterday.
“I have heard people say that maybe I should have been part of the team to South Africa but people will always say what’s on their minds, I’m not the one to control them. As a player I feel I have done my bit on the crease, it’s the selectors call and not mine… I’m not going to stop practising on my game.”
Towering rookie, Blessing Muzarabani of Rising Stars is in line for a memorable Test debut after impressing in the Logan Cup but will have to battle it out against experienced pace bowlers Kyle Jarvis, Christopher Mpofu and Tendai Chatara who all made the cut in the 15-man squad.
Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Faisal Hasnain has described the four-day pink ball Test as historic in every aspect of it given that South Africa may have turned out more established teams in order to accommodate their neighbours.
“To be honest I’m quite very happy for our team to be involved in the South African Test. I have been talking to South Africa for two months and eventually I was very happy that we were able to secure the Boxing Day Test,” Hasnain said.
“I’m aware they were talking to others on the same matter…I’m very thankful to them…i think the cricketing world would be watching third Test very carefully for a number of reasons…we are part of history and we are part of an experiment…It gives our players game time regardless of whether it’s an experiment it gives our players game time against a very strong team. So this match is actually going to be very different from playing lower ranked teams. South Africa is a top Test side.”
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.