Mehluli Sibanda in Harare
TWO nil down in the five match One Day contest against Afghanistan and facing a series defeat, Zimbabwe received an enormous boost when left handed all rounder Sean Williams passed his fitness test Monday ahead of Tuesday’s third ODI at Harare Sports Club.
Williams, who has been struggling with a back injury for two months managed to prove his fitness in Bulawayo on Monday which saw him travel to Harare. Despite not training with the national team, Williams has been included in today’s team to face Afghanistan since he has been fine tuning with his provincial side Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers.
National team coach Heath Streak was pleased with Williams passing the fitness assessment seeing that the Zimbabwean batsmen have been struggling playing against spin bowling.
Streak believes that his side can still bounce back and clinch the series, despite the situation being in favour of the visitors who just have to win one match to seal the contest.
“I do believe we have a chance to win the series if we have mental approach and counter their spin better. Sean Williams has been passed his fitness test and has been included in the squad, a decision on whether he plays we will see that in the morning,’’ said Streak.
With Sikandar Raza ruled out of the series because of a bone fracture in the sheen, Williams’ addition is a welcome boost for a team that is struggling batting wise. Veteran Hamilton Masakadza was brought in for Raza in the second ODI but could only contribute five runs.
Besides Masakadza, the other player who could be replaced by Williams in the starting 11 is Malcolm Waller who made four runs on Sunday. While the bowling unit has been in top notch, the batting has been pathetic and was heavily exposed by the Afghanistan spinners on Sunday.
Leg spinner Rashid Khan bamboozled the Zimbabwean batsmen with three wickets for 25 in 7.1 overs. Off spinner Mohammad Nabi also collected three wickets while left arm orthodox Amir Hamza picked up two.
Solomon Mire, Peter Moor, Craig Ervine and Ryan Burl have put up decent performances with the bat and Streak will be hoping that the rest of the batsmen come to the party to prevent the visitors from taking sealing the series with two matches to go.
Zimbabwe squad: Graeme Cremer(captain), Peter Moor(wicketkeeper), Ryan Burl, Tarisai Musakanda, Malcolm Waller, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara, Christopher Mpofu, Nathan Waller, Craig Ervine, Solomon Mire, Richard Ngarava, Carl Mumba, Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams