Davison Bhunu, Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S preparations for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa suffered a setback after the team’s technical department was forced to make a last-minute change by drafting in United Kingdom-based Sakhumuzi Ndlela into the side following the injury to Brandon James.
The International Cricket Council announced that Zimbabwe were given the green-light for Ndlela to be drafted into their 15-man squad for the injured James by the Event Technical Committee.
James, the son of former Zimbabwe international cricketer and coach, Wayne James, suffered a rotator cuff tear on his shoulder in the build-up to the tournament which effectively ruled him out of the competition.
The change to the squad comes just a few days before the Zimbabwean team, captained by Dion Myers, begin their World Cup campaign against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
The ICC also said Zimbabwe’s Group C rivals Scotland suffered the same fate and will replace Durness Mackay-Champion with Lyle Robertson.
“The ICC has confirmed that the Event Technical Committee of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 has approved Sakhumuzi Ndlela as a replacement player for Brandon James in the Zimbabwe squad and Scotland’s Lyle Robertson a replacement for Durness Mackay-Champion.
“James has experienced a rotator cuff tear and Mackay-Champion has fractured his finger which has ruled both out of participation in the event,” the ICC said.
Despite the injury setback, Zimbabwe are to head into the ICC Under-19 World Cup with high hopes of causing upsets against some of the big teams after scoring victories over neighbours South Africa and New Zealand during the preparatory quadrangular series held in Durban.
The team, which is coached by former Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya, clash with Bangladesh in their opening fixture at the tournament on Saturday at the JB Marks Oval.
Zimbabwe’s second fixture is against Pakistan at the Witrand Oval next Wednesday with their last group opponents being Scotland at the same venue on January 25.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe youth side gave four-time champions India a good run in their last warm-up game at St Sithians College on Tuesday.
The Indians held their nerve when it mattered most to wrap up a 23-run win in this close chase.
India, considered one of the favourites for the tournament, compiled 295 in 49.4 overs, after winning the toss and batting first.
The total was heavily supplemented by two fine half-centuries by Tilak Sharma, who retired on 73, and the in-form Priyam Garg, who also made 73.
They set India on their way before Kumar Kushagra (36) and AV Ankolekar (31) kept the score ticking at close to a run-a-ball throughout the innings.
For the Zimbabweans, Nkosilathi Nungu claimed two for 41 in nine tidy overs, while off-spinner Wesley Madhevere was tight in his 10 overs of off-spin, garnering one for 49.
In response, Prosper Utseya’s charges made a proper fist of the chase, underlining their credentials as a wily underdog in the tournament.
Dane Schadendorf smashed a bruising 81 off 74 balls, with six sixes and five boundaries.
Luke Oldknow was excellent support, with 66 from 86 balls, as Zimbabwe took the chase deep into the afternoon.
Milton Shumba had earlier struck a half-century upfront, repelling a probing spell of three for 33 by Kartik Tyagi, who returned to get the final scalp at the death. Sushant Mishra’’s two for 28 in eight overs kept Zimbabwe in check, and they simply ran out of ammunition, being bowled out for 272 in 48.4 overs.
It was a proud chase, and was an ideal tune-up for both teams before the tournament starts in earnest tomorrow.
Dion Myers (captain), Wesley Madhevere (vice-captain), Emmanuel Bawa, Privilege Chesa, Gareth Chirawu, Ahomed Rameez Ebrahim, Dylan Grant, Sakhumuzi Ndlela, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Tadiwanashe Nyangani, Luke Oldknow, Dane Schadendorf, Milton Shumba, Taurayi Tugwete, Nkosilathi Nungu.