Senior Sports Reporter
FAST bowler Samuel Ruwisi suffered a heartbreak after he was withdrawn from the Zimbabwe Under-19 Cricket World Cup travelling squad at the last minute because of injury.
The team left for South Africa yesterday for the 16-team tournament that kicks off on January 17 in neighbouring South Africa.
Unfortunately, the 17-year-old St. John’s College pupil, who is battling a back injury, was the only casualty in the 15-member squad that was announced by the association earlier this month.
He was replaced by Nkosilathi Nungu, who makes a return to the Under-19 World Cup. Nungu played at the previous edition held in New Zealand two years ago.
“Ruwisi is the only change to the team and it must be a heartbreak for him. He went for an MRI scan and it was confirmed that he has a back injury that will not be able to heal in time for the World Cup games,” said Zimbabwe Cricket spokesperson Darlington Majonga.
Zimbabwe are in Group C along with Bangladesh, Pakistan and Scotland.
They will polish up their preparations in a warm-up quadrangular mini-series which also features giants India, New Zealand and hosts South Africa in Durban starting this Friday.
They will then open their campaign at the tournament against Bangladesh at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on January 18. Pakistan will be next on January 22 and Scotland three days later at the Witrand Oval, also in Potchefstroom.
The top two teams from each of the four groups at the tournament will advance to the Super League, while the remaining teams will feature in the Plate championship.
The tournament ends on February 9.
ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani is confident Zimbabwe will excel.
Speaking at a farewell dinner for the youth team, Mukuhlani hailed Prosper Utseya’s charges as future international stars.
“This is not just a send-off for you the Under-19 squad going to the World Cup, but this is to launch you onto the world scene.
“We are here today launching a new Hamilton Masakadza, a new Prosper Utseya, a new Tatenda Taibu, a new Heath Streak, a new Alistair Campbell, a new Murray Goodwin and a new Neil Johnson. That’s what we are here for.
“You are going to play Pakistan, a big name, it doesn’t matter. You are going to play Bangladesh, a big name, it doesn’t matter. You are going to play Scotland, it doesn’t matter.
“They must know after this World Cup that there is a captain called Dion Myers who led the Under-19s from Zimbabwe to triumph.
“You can only be Under-19 once, so it’s a lifetime opportunity that you must grab with both hands and use properly,” he said. “You must take pride when you carry the badge.
You must take pride when you carry the bird.
“There are 15 of you out of 14 million people, so you are special. You are very special. “As you journey through, you must know that “I’m special and because I’m special I must make this country special.
I must represent this country with great passion, with great determination, with great loyalty’.
“You are not soldiers of fortune. You are stars in your own right. You are here because you deserve to be here. You are not here because someone favoured you.
“Because you have that talent that God has given you, as you go through your journey you have to respect your country, to respect your teammates, to respect your opponents and to have fair play.
“In the journey that you have started, money is not the issue. It will always come. Money follows ideas. And you are a great idea. So it should not be the focus.
“You must tell yourself “I’m the best that Zimbabwe can produce” and you must create the change that you want to see and the change you want to see is a great Zimbabwe Cricket, a winning Zimbabwe Cricket,” Mukuhlani said.
Zimbabwe Under-19 World Cup squad
Dion Myers (captain), Wesley Madhevere (vice-captain), Emmanuel Bawa, Privilege Chesa, Gareth Chirawu, Ahomed Rameez Ebrahim, Dylan Grant, Brandon James, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Nkosilathi Nungu, Tadiwanashe Nyangani, Luke Oldknow, Dane Schadendorf, Milton Shumba, Taurayi Tugwete
Non-travelling reserves: Brighton Chapungu, Rodney Mufudza, Kudakwashe Macheka, Matthew Welch
Technical staff: Prosper Utseya (head coach), Greg Lamb (batting coach), Mufaro Chiturumani (analyst), Travor Wambe (physiotherapist), Moses Chitare (team manager)