By Kevin Mapasure
Left arm quickie Brian Vitori has been recalled to the national cricket team ahead of their tour of Dubai where they will play Afghanistan in a limited overs series, after the International Cricket Council allowed him to bowl again.
Vitori served a 12-month ban, but after remedial work and re-assessment, his deliveries were deemed legal and the national team selectors have wasted no time in picking him as they seek to put together a strong squad for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers that will be hosted in Zimbabwe in March.
The 27-year-old year old will travel together with batsman Ryan Burl who has also been called up and will link up with the rest of the squad making its way from Bangladesh after playing in a tri-series against the hosts and Sri Lanka.
Having won just one game in the series, Zimbabwe failed to make it to the finals of the tri-angular series.
Zimbabwe needed Bangladesh to beat Sri Lanka yesterday for them to have a chance of playing the hosts in the final, but the latter won by 10 wickets.
Zimbabwe’s struggles have prompted the selectors to look at other options in both the bowling and batting departments.
Middle order batsman Craig Ervine struggled throughout the series and it comes as a surprise that he played all four matches.
Ryan Murray travelled to Bangladesh, although he was not given a chance, but together with Chris Mpofu and Brendan Mavhuta who both sat out the series, will be returning home where he will get some game time in the Zimbabwe A team set to face Kenya in Harare.
The return of Vitori, whom the selectors including coach Heath Streak rate so highly, will be the big news for Zimbabwe.
Former captain Brendan Taylor described Vitori as Zimbabwe’s match-winner in one of his interviews recently.
“I think our match-winning bowler is Brian Vitori, and hopefully he returns,” Taylor told the media days before Vitori’s ban was lifted. “Obviously his action has been questioned but he is very close to passing his test and that will help us a lot if he is ready for the qualifiers because he got good pace and variation in his repertoire and can be quite dangerous against any opposition. He can swing the ball and he will be the main threat. And if Williams and Cremer can play well, it won’t be hard to put pressure on any opposition.”
Zimbabwe will be hoping for an improved display when they take on Afghanistan who are one of their Group B rivals at the World Cup qualifiers.