NATIONAL cricket team batsman Tinotenda Mawoyo says he is ready for the World Cup challenge after receiving a surprise call up to replace Sean Ervine who pulled out last week.
Mawoyo got a pleasant surprise on Monday when he received the news of his inclusion through a phone call from team manager Lovemore Banda.
It is not yet clear why Ervine pulled out after having announced his return to international cricket a month ago, but the all-rounder cited personal reasons for his last minute pull-out.
The development, however, presented an opportunity for Mountaineers batsman Mawoyo to stake a claim for a place in the national team.
“I was both excited and a bit surprised when I got the news; I was a disappointed to have been left out at first just like all the players that have not been included,” said Mawoyo. “But despite having been left out I have been working hard all along so I think I will be as ready as the other guys when the World Cup starts.”
Mawoyo hit a double century in a warm-up match against New Zealand late last year and followed that with an unbeaten 106 in the first four-day game against the same opponents.
Mawoyo’s inclusion presents the selectors with another option at the top of the batting order, along with Brendan Taylor and Charles Coventry after the exclusion of Hamilton Masakadza.
Mawoyo said that Zimbabwe have the potential to be a surprise package but need to play to their strengths as a team.
“We have always shown we are a good team; we can get positive results against some of the big guns in our group if we apply ourselves fully. Everybody is excited and raring to go so I have a feeling it will be a successful outing for us,” he added.
National team assistant coach Steven Mangongo said the player would have to take up this opportunity and show that he deserved a place in the squad.
“It’s a big opportunity for him to finally get his international career going. I always thought he was one player that had been left out who deserved to be in the squad,” said Mangongo. “He is one of the few specialist openers that we have, we hope he takes this opportunity with both hands and do the job.”
Mangongo said that Mawoyo had for the last two years been knocking on the door of the national team and had now been duly rewarded.
Meanwhile the Met Bank Pro-40 series reaches its climax this week with three matches that will feature two semifinals and the final match on this Sunday as Mountaineers attempt to retain their title.
Mountaineers have a semi final clash with Midwest Rhinos today at the Harare Sports Club while Matabeleland Tuskers will have to navigate their way past Masvingo Rocks if they are to get into the final.
All four teams will be up for the title, which is the second trophy of the season after Mashonaland Eagles won the T-20 series in November.
It will be the last piece of action for members of the World Cup squad before they depart for the Dubai training camp next week.
Mountaineers won the title last season to complete a season double having also won the T-20 competition, but they face a major challenge to retain the title this time.