Fast bowler Chris Mpofu has been ruled out of Zimbabwe’s cricket tour to New Zealand with a lower back injury.
Mpofu was pulled out of the domestic Stanbic Bank Twenty20 series in November by his Matabeleland Tuskers’ franchise team management when he started to complain about lower back pain.
Mpofu, who was initially named in Zimbabwe’s 20-man training squad for a two-week camp in Harare, has failed to recover in time for the tour.
“Unfortunately Chris’s lower back pain has recurred on the eve of the start of the camp,” said national team physiotherapist Amato Machikicho.
“He had an MRI scan and an opinion from a specialist sports physician. As a result Chris will no longer be a part of the camp and will miss the tour.”
Selectors have called up right-arm bowler Tendai Chatara of Mountaineers to replace Mpofu in the squad.
Left-arm bowler Brian Vitori, who missed the home series against New Zealand with a shin injury, has also returned.
Bowler Shingi Masakadza, legspinner Graeme Cremer and Stuart Matsikenyeri were all inlcuded in the squad.
Head coach Alan said, “I hope our performance in the last Test will give us the belief that we can beat New Zealand.
“We will be underdogs, yes, but we will not be inferior to our opponents.
“Not having Chris Mpofu is quite a blow – he has been consistent in the last couple of months,” he added.
“We have [Brian] Vitori back and look to compete at a level footing so are not a depleted side at all.”
The tour runs from the 17th of January to the 14th of February 2012 and comprises a four day warm-up match against the New Zealand XI, a one-off Test match, three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 international matches.
Squad Brendan Taylor, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingirai Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Keegan Meth, Forster Mutizwa, Njabulo Ncube, Raymond Price, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller.