Brandon Mavuta, the 20-year old legspinning allrounder, and Ryan Murray, the 19-year old wicketkeeper-batsman, have been picked by Zimbabwe for the ODI tri-series in Bangladesh starting on January 15. Although Zimbabwe did perform well in its most recent limited-overs assignment, winning their first ODI series in Sri Lanka in July, seven members from the squad won’t be making this trip.
Mavuta has played only one List A game and Murray’s count is at two. However, they were both part of the Zimbabwe Academy recently set up by convener of selectors Tatenda Taibu to take young players to England every winter and help them develop their game. Mavuta and Murray have also played for the A team recently and were part of the new Rising Stars domestic franchise.
On the bowling front, Blessing Muzarabani, with an action reminiscent of Kagiso Rabada, has a chance to play his first 50-over match in senior cricket. He made his international debut in the pink-ball Test against South Africa on Boxing Day, finishing with figures of 13-2-48-0.
Balancing the inexperience in the squad are Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis – who will be representing Zimbabwe in ODIs for the first time since they accepted Kolpak deals. Hamilton Masakadza provides strength at the top of the order, Craig Ervine stability in the middle and Sikandar Raza can chip in with both bat and ball. Even if it was six months ago, Zimbabwe will also be buoyed by the fact they are coming off a 3-2 victory over Sri Lanka, who are the third team in the tri-series.