Fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani is set to become the first Zimbabwean cricketer to feature in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) in eight years following reports that he is closing in on a move to debutants Lucknow Super Giants for the upcoming season.
While there is still no official confirmation from either IPL or the franchise several media reports in India reported on Monday that Muzarabani will be the replacement for England pacer Mark Wood.
The England star suffered an elbow injury in the first Test between West Indies and England in Antigua.
Earlier reports had suggested that Lucknow Super Giants would sign Bangladesh fast bowler Taskin Ahmed as Wood’s replacement but the Bangladesh Cricket Board refused to issue a No-Objection Certificate because of national commitments.
On Monday night, the Indian embassy in Zimbabwe uploaded a picture of the ambassador with Muzarabani and mentioned that the Zimbabwe national player is leaving for India to play for Lucknow Super Giants.
Ambassador met with Mr Blessing Muzarabani, the Zimbabwean bowler, as he prepared to leave for #IPL2022.
— India in Zimbabwe (@IndiainZimbabwe) March 21, 2022
The 25-year-old pacer has played six Tests, 30 ODIs and 21 T20 International matches for Zimbabwe.
He becomes the first Zimbabwe player to play in the IPL after a span of eight years.
Former Zimbabwe player Brendan Taylor was part of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s squad in IPL 2014 but never played a single match for the Orange Army. He was subsequently released ahead of IPL 2015.
Ray Price (Mumbai Indians) and Tatenda Taibu (Kolkata Knight Riders) are the other Zimbabwe players who have participated in the IPL.
Lucknow Super Giants will be led by Indian opener KL Rahul who has the experience of leading Pubjab Kings for the last two seasons in the cash-rich league.
Muzarabani, who recently participated in the Pakistan Super League will have an opportunity to play under the mentorship of Zimbabwe cricket legend Andy Flower, who is the Lucknow Super Giants’ head coach.
LSG will play its first match against fellow debutant Gujarat Titans on March 28 at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.