Shift in focus does not mean we will make wholesale changes to Zimbabwe squad, says coach Lalchand Rajput

Shift in focus does not mean we will make wholesale changes to Zimbabwe squad, says coach Lalchand Rajput

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Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput has said that a shift in focus does not mean they will make wholesale changes, as they still need the experience to combine youth. Meanwhile, all-rounder, Sikandar Raza has been left out of the T20 squad for the tri-series in Bangladesh due to disciplinary issues.

Zimbabwean cricket is going through a period of turmoil at the moment, with the ICC ban preventing them from featuring in any major cricketing event under the international council. And so, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has opted to build a team for the future as they repair things within their own system. Zimbabwe will next feature in the T20 tri-series in Bangladesh, which also includes Afghanistan. 

"We are now shifting our focus to rebuilding a new team and to do that we must gradually blood in younger players and create a new culture that encourages unity, hard work, professionalism and excellence. We will not make wholesale changes, as we definitely still need some of the experienced players to help the new generation find their feet in international cricket. That is why we have a good mix of youth and experience in the team that has been selected for the Bangladesh tour," Rajput said, reported ESPNCricinfo.

The board confirmed the view held by the coach, as they announced the 15-man squad, which includes two players uncapped in T20Is in left-arm spinner Ainsley Ndlovu and all-rounder Tony Munyonga. However, a notable exclusion was that of their experienced all-rounder, Raza.

"A much younger side that is more reflective of the new direction that Zimbabwe is taking has been picked for the Singapore triangular series. It is important that we support our captain, whether it is Masakadza or anyone else, by creating an environment in which we can be confident he will have the full support of all players, with everyone pulling in the same direction and able to trust each other. It is for those reasons that we have decided to leave Raza out," Walter Chawaguta, convener of selectors, said in a press release.

It is understood that Raza’s absence comes as a result of some rifts within the dressing room that arose during the spat between Zimbabwe Cricket and the Sports and Recreation Commission earlier this year. The same was hinted by Masakadza in his letter to Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry in July. The Bangladesh tri-series will be Masakadza's last in international cricket. 

Following the Bangladesh tour, Zimbabwe will head to Singapore for another T20 tri-series, against the hosts and Nepal, and ZC named a squad for that tournament as well, which will be captained by all-rounder Sean Williams.

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