x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Zimbabwe offer reformed Mark Vermeulen unlikely lifeline against Proteas

Vermeulen, who admitted burning down Zimbabwe’s cricket academy in 2006 but was acquitted on the grounds of mental illness, has been named in the country’s training squad for matches this month.

Zimbabwe cricketers celebrate after the dismissal of unseen Netherlands batsman Michael Swart during the ICC T20 World Cup qualifying match between the  Netherlands v Zimbabwe at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet on March 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO/STR
Zimbabwe cricketers celebrate after the dismissal of unseen Netherlands batsman Michael Swart during the ICC T20 World Cup qualifying match between the Netherlands v Zimbabwe at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet on March 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO/STR

CAPE TOWN // Mark Vermeulen, who admitted burning down Zimbabwe’s cricket academy in 2006 but was acquitted on the grounds of mental illness, has been named in the country’s training squad for matches against South Africa and Australia this month.

The 35-year-old batsman last played for Zimbabwe in a 50-over match against South Africa in 2009, while his last test appearance was more than a decade ago against Sri Lanka.

Read more: Australia recall Lyon but cannot fit Hughes in Zimbabwe squad

He retired from all forms of cricket in 2011 in the hope of forging a career in golf but that was short-lived and within a year, he was back playing on the Zimbabwe domestic scene.

He could now make the most unlikely of comebacks to the national side, who are reeling after letting a 2-0 lead slip in last month’s drawn four-match limited-overs series against Afghanistan.

Vermeulen, who was also banned for a year by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2006 after an altercation with a spectator at a Central Lancashire League club match, is one of 25 players named by Zimbabwe Cricket for the training squad.

The country will host a one-off test against the Proteas starting on Saturday, before three one-day internationals against their neighbours.

Australia then join the pair for a one-day international triangular tournament that starts on Aug. 25.

Zimbabwe training squad Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Steven Chimhamhiwa, Michael Chinouya, Luke Jongwe, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Neville Madziva, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingirai Masakadza, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Natsai M’shangwe, Cuthbert Musoko, Richmond Mutumbami, Taurai Muzarabani, John Nyumbu, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Donald Tiripano, Prosper Utseya, Mark Vermeulen, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.

South Africa call up Rossouw and Shezi ODIs against Zimbabwe

The Proteas have rewarded the form of South Africa A batsman Rilee Rossouw and seam bowler Mthokozisi Shezi by naming them in their squad for three one-day internationals against Zimbabwe later this month.

The uncapped pair were the standout performers for the country’s A side on their recent tour to Australia.

Also drafted into the squad is paceman Marchant de Lange, once tipped to be a mainstay of the South African bowling unit until persistent back injuries limited his availability in recent years.

The selectors have decided to rest Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, though they will return for the triangular competition, also involving Australia, that starts on Aug. 25.

“The message is clear to all our players: if you perform at domestic level and then take it through to SA A level, you will be rewarded,” Cricket South Africa selection convener Andrew Hudson said in a statement.

Hudson added that the squad for the triangular competition would be finalised at the end of the Zimbabwe series.

Kagiso Rabada, another member of the South Africa A squad, will travel with the team for the triangular series.

“We want him to experience and learn from the environment around the Proteas,” Hudson added.

South Africa squad AB de Villiers (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi.

Follow our sports coverage on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE