Bulawayo - Batsman Brendan Taylor and
fast bowler Kyle Jarvis will make their returns to international cricket
on Saturday when Zimbabwe take on the West Indies in the first of two
Tests in Bulawayo.
Jarvis has not played for Zimbabwe since
signing a Kolpak deal with English county side Lancashire in 2013, while
Taylor followed suit in 2015 when he moved to Nottinghamshire.
both players have been lured back as part of Zimbabwe Cricket's
attempts to revive the national team, which last year included hiring
former Zimbabwe captains Tatenda Taibu and Heath Streak as national
selector and head coach respectively.
Those appointments appear to
be bearing some fruit - in July, Zimbabwe won their first one-day
international series in Sri Lanka, and nearly pulled off an upset in a
one-off Test as well.
The additions of Taylor, Jarvis and Solomon
Mire, who was previously based in Australia, have given Zimbabwe the
belief that they could cause an upset in their first home Test of the
"I feel that we've probably got an even better team now than
we had in Sri Lanka," Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer said on Friday.
"We'll take that confidence from Sri Lanka, but we know we can perform even better than that."
The West Indies are undergoing something of a resurgence themselves.
off in the wake of an innings and 209-run thrashing by England at
Edgbaston in August, they bounced back to win a pulsating second Test at
Headingley, proving what they are capable of.
"I think we've had a
pretty reasonable year in terms of improvement. The guys have been
getting attuned to Test cricket," West Indies captain Jason Holder said.
"We're still not the finished product but we're headed in the right direction."
the heart of their improvement has been the faith shown by the
selectors in a young group of players, with Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai
Hope emerging as two batsmen of promise.
Meanwhile the pace of
Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel is likely to unsettle Zimbabwe's
batsmen, and the fast bowlers may also find some assistance in the hot,
dry conditions at Queens Sports Club.
"With the Kookaburra balls,
reverse swing is always a factor - they tend to reverse earlier than
most and go a bit softer," said Holder. "I would expect some reverse
swing in these dry conditions."
Spin is also expected to play a part, so Zimbabwe could give left-arm spinner Tendai Chisoro his first Test cap.
Graeme Cremer (c), Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Chamu
Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams,
Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor, Regis Chakabva, Michael Chinouya, Chris
Mpofu, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chisoro, Nyasha Mayavo.
Jason Holder (c), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine
Blackwood, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon
Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran
Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.