Matabeleland Tuskers, the reigning Logan Cup champions, have suffered a blow or two as they attempt to lift the trophy for the fourth successive season, but they still have a strong team to put onto the field.
Sean Williams has been appointed as the new captain, in succession to Gavin Ewing whose injuries have prevented him from playing regularly for the past two seasons and persuaded him probably to play only one-day cricket this season. He is now on a pay-as-you play contract, as are Charles Coventry and another injury-prone player, pace bowler Chris Mpofu.
The blows to the team come through the loss of two important players of recent seasons: the seam bowler Njabulo Ncube has taken up a year’s contract coaching at a South African school, while Craig Ervine has not returned from overseas.
In addition two other pace bowlers, Keegan Meth and Glenn Querl, have also taken up contracts temporarily outside the country, but are expected to return in the New Year.
This is a serious blow to Matabeleland Tuskers’ powerful pace attack, and they are no doubt relieved that Tawanda Mupariwa has decided to return to Bulawayo after a season with Southern Rocks.
The other leading players are still available, with Keith Dabengwa at 33 now the oldest current first-class player in the country.
The former national wicketkeeper-batsman and also current chairman of the national cricket committee, Wayne James, has been appointed as team coach.