Ex-England player included in Zimbabwe squad for T20Is against Ireland

Zimbabwe will take on Ireland in a three-match T20I series

By Web Desk
January 04, 2023
Gary Ballance made his debut for England in an ODI match against Ireland in 2013 — ICC

Zimbabwe announced their squad for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Ireland, with a few of their key players excluded and a surprising inclusion.

The T20I team for Zimbabwe does not include star all-rounder Sikandar Raza, who made a name for himself with consistent performances in 2022, while Blessing Muzarabani, Regis Chakabva, and Milton Shumba were also excluded from the series that starts in mid-January.

However, the most surprising change in the squad is the addition of former England player Gary Ballance, who recently signed a two-year contract with Zimbabwe cricket to play both domestic and international cricket.

After a prolonged stay that started in 2007, Ballance was released from Yorkshire and went back to Zimbabwe to play for his home nation.

"I'm thrilled to be joining Zimbabwe Cricket and can't wait to start work with some great coaches and talented players. The opportunity to represent Zimbabwe has given me a new-found passion and excitement for the game,"  Ballance said at the time.

It is worth mentioning here that Ballance made his debut for England in an ODI match against Ireland in 2013.

From 2013 to 2017, the batter represented the English side in 23 Tests and 16 50-over matches, amassing 1795 runs.

He reached 1000 Test runs in just ten Tests and 17 innings, which is the third-fastest time for England behind Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton. He was averaging 67.93 at that time, with four centuries and five fifties.

Ballance's return is fantastic news, but Zimbabwe will miss their talented all-rounder Raza who is now free to play franchise cricket.

Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava are on hand to support the pace attack since Muzarabani is still recovering from a quad ailment.

The T20I series will be played in Harare with matches on January 12, 14, and 15, followed by an ensuing ODI series which will be played at the same venue on January 18, 21, and 23.

The date for the second ODI was moved from January 20 to 21.

Zimbabwe squad: Craig Ervine (captain), Gary Ballance, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Clive Madande, Wessley Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Sean Williams