Zimbabwe have received a timely boost ahead of the three-match One Day International (ODI) series against giants India following the return of experienced all-rounder Sean Williams ahead of the opening match set for Harare Sports Club on Thursday.
Williams missed the ODI series against Bangladesh after being granted permission by Zimbabwe Cricket to attend to some personal matters.
The 35-year-old left-handed middle-order batsman and left-arm spinner was initially left out of Zimbabwe’s 17-man squad for the series against India.
After training with the squad this week, Williams could make a return on Thursday and captain Regis Chakabva believes he will be a valuable addition to the squad.
“Yes Sean Williams is available for selection and it’s a massive boost for us. Obviously, Sean is one of the most experienced guys that we have an all-around player as well so it’s a massive boost and we are all excited,” Chakabva said.
Williams’ return comes at a time Zimbabwe have been without some of the senior players such as skipper Craig Ervine (hamstring) Blessing Muzarabani (thigh), Tendai Chatara (collarbone) and Wellington Masakadza (shoulder).
Despite the injury absentees, Chakabva said he was confident that the other players in the squad would step up to the challenge.
“We have very capable guys all around in the squad and yes we are missing a few senior players but it’s also very exciting for all the other guys who have been in the squad from the Bangladesh series to now. The new guys have had a lot of confidence as well and we are excited and looking forward to this particular tour,” he said.
Zimbabwe will head into the three-match series against India as underdogs but will be encouraged by their recent performances since the appointment of legend Dave Houghton as head coach.
With Houghton in charge, hosts Zimbabwe beat non-Test teams Jersey, Singapore, the United States, Papua New Guinea, and the Netherlands to qualify for the 2022 T20 World Cup.
The Chevrons followed up the qualification success by upstaging higher-ranked Bangladesh 2-1 in both T20 and ODI series.
Pakistan-born batsman Sikandar Raza, played a key role in the ODI series with successive centuries and he will be hoping to continue his purple patch against a much tougher opponent in India.