Raza new Chevrons T20 captain

Sports Reporter 

THE humiliating T20 International series defeat against lowly Namibia cost Craig Ervine the Chevrons captaincy on Saturday as the Zimbabwe Cricket board decided to hand over the armband to all-rounder, Sikandar Raza.

ZC’s board met in Victoria Falls, where there are plans to construct a 10 000-seater international stadium to host 2026 Under-19 World Cup with construction tentatively set to commence next month.

Raza replaces Craig Ervine, who will now focus on leading the Chevrons in the longer versions of the game — Tests and one-day international cricket.

The 38-year-old Ervine assumed full time leadership of the T20 team in March last year.  

Ervine’s record in T20 internationals is not exceptional, managing 1436 runs in 71 innings at an average of 22.43 although he holds a record of 31 catches.  

The ZC board however, kept faith in Dave Houghton as the Chevrons coach while placing emphasis on the importance of qualification for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and United States of America.

However, the Chevrons Selection Panel will now have three members, with David Mutendera remaining as convener and joined by Houghton and Elton Chigumbura, a former Chevrons captain and all-rounder.

The ZC board expressed its deep concern and disappointment over the Chevrons’ performance during the recent T20 international series in Namibia, in the process revealing why Ervine is being relegated.

He will now have to fight for a place in the team at a time young players are knocking on the Chevrons’ door.  

Raza was named player-of-the-series in what was the only positive from a five-match series they led 2-1 before losing the final two matches in disappointing fashion.

He scored 177 runs at a strike rate of 147.50 and then took four wickets in the final game. 

Critics blamed the series loss to a combination of lack of leadership and over-reliance on Raza’s bat as he failed to reach a half century on the back-to-back defeats that ruined the trip.

Of the series’ 177 runs, Raza scored 173 in the opening three matches but was dismissed for successive twos in the final matches, the major reason the Chevrons lost the two matches for low scores.

The 37-year-old Raza top-scored for the Chevrons in the opening three matches. 

Apart from losing the series, Ervine had a largely disappointing tour with just 81 runs from five matches including an unbeaten 54 and two ducks. 

Zimbabwe were using the brief tour to prepare for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Africa qualifier set for Namibia later this month.

Meanwhile, Blessing Ngondo comes in as the Cricket Committee’s new Chairman, with Hamilton Masakadza, Kenyon Ziehl, Russell Tiffin, Julia Chibhabha, Houghton and Chigumbura being the other members.

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