Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine, as well as fashion designer Kyle Jarvis, have been left out due to illness – joining injured paceman Tendai Chatara on the sidelines.
An exhausted Zimbabwe will meet Afghanistan on Tuesday for the first match of the two-test series in Abu Dhabi, where he will also face three Twenty20 internationals later this month.
BEGINNING BECKONS. . . Wessly Madhevere is online for his Test Bow, a feat that would complete a remarkable year… https://t.co/f31fcYAhEw
– Zimbabwe Cricket (@ZimCricketv) 1614437782000
“Senior players are missing (and) it could be a disadvantage, but it presents an opportunity for young boys to learn and grow on the international stage,” Madhevere told Reuters ahead of his likely Test debut.
“It will take a lot for the younger generation to make a statement … (but) this is a perfect opportunity to improve your game and showcase your talent.”
The 20-year-old honed his skills overseas as a high school student in South Africa. After making his one-day international debut in Bangladesh last year, he became the first Zimbabwean teenager since 2006 to score half a century in the format.
The following white balls against Pakistan, struck with the fluidity and calmness of a seasoned veteran, strengthened Madhevere’s position as his team’s most promising young player.
“I know there are a lot of expectations of what I did in the shorter versions, but I’m going to use that as my motivation to keep doing well,” said the mid-ranking hitter.
PICS: The Afghan Atalan started training earlier today at Sheikh Zayed Stadium as he resumed Test Cricket from… https://t.co/1T4Ft2Yrsw
– Afghanistan Cricket Council (@ACBofficials) 1614287607000
Zimbabwe have recalled batsmen Ryan Burl and Tarisai Musakanda, both 26, who, along with fast pitcher Blessing Muzarabani, 24, hope to add to their lone test cap.
Versatile Sikandar Raza and skipper Sean Williams will serve as experienced hands, but with Zimbabwe’s mainstays approaching retirement age, this tour will offer a glimpse into the team’s future.
In their favor is Afghanistan’s inexperience, having played just four tests since achieving red ball status in 2017.
A finger injury to Rashid Khan’s bowling hand puts him in doubt for his country’s very first test against Zimbabwe, but his ability to shape the overall series remains a threat.
“He’s probably one of the best leg spinners in the world. We’ve all seen the impact he’s had for a few years,” said Madhevere.
“If we just follow our process, I think we can meet the challenges.”