Zim Cricket selectors can’t  ignore Brian Chari anymore Brian Chari (left) in action

Brandon Moyo, [email protected] 

BRIAN Chari was once a regular opener for Zimbabwe but has not played international cricket for four years. 

His last appearance for the Chevrons was a nail-biting win over Pakistan in Rawalpindi in 2020, where Blessing Muzarabani starred with the ball in the match and the Super Over. 

But Chari had a dismal outing, scoring only nine runs off 18 balls. 

Since then, he has been overlooked by the selectors, who have tried other options at the top, but none of them have solved the team’s woes.

Chari also missed out on the T20I and Test squads, having last played in those formats in 2018 and 2019 respectively. He faced tough times, with inconsistent form and injuries hampering his progress.

Brian Chari in Chevrons colours

 But he bounced back in style in the 2023/24 Logan Cup season, where he finished as the leading run-scorer.

It was a forgettable season for his team Tuskers, who won only three of their eight games and finished third. But it was a memorable one for Chari, who sent a loud message to the David Mutenderi-led ZC Senior Men’s Selection Panel.

They can’t afford to ignore him now! After his superb campaign with the bat, Chari deserves to be reconsidered by the national team selectors. If statistics are anything to go by in the national team selection, then Chari surely deserves another chance on the big stage, where he last featured in 2020. Chari was consistent with the bat throughout the season, making a case for his inclusion in the national team whenever the opportunity arises. He brings in the experience that saw him score a magnificent 692 runs in 14 innings for the Bulawayo-based Tuskers team.

His 692 runs came at an average of 49, 43 and he scored 17 runs more than the second-placed Jonathan Campbell, who finished with 675 runs at 61, 36. Apart from topping the run-scoring charts, the Tuskers skipper, who batted at number four, also scored the fourth-highest individual score with a brilliant 213 runs, which came in their crushing 510-run win over Rhinos in their last game of the league. 

Apart from the double ton, Chari also scored two centuries, the third-most in the league behind Campbell with four and Tuskers teammate Aliakbar Hamid with three, and the joint-most half-centuries with four, tied with England international Dominic Bess.

Chari has made a strong case for himself, sending a clear message to the selectors. It would be unfair if the Chevrons snub continues.

Brian Chari was the leading run scorer in the recently ended 2023/24 Logan Cup competition

 He has been scoring runs and he should be given another opportunity to prove himself on the biggest stages. ZC has continuously backed some players who have been struggling to score runs in international cricket and Chari deserves to be given the same support, having shown, domestically, what he is capable of doing.

To date, having made his senior national team debut in 2014 in a Test match between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in Khulna, Chari has only played 24 games for the Chevrons across the three  formats.

 He has 14 ODI caps to his name, while also featuring in seven Tests and three T20Is. In his 14 ODI appearances, he has scored 186 runs with a high score of 39, while in Test cricket, he has amassed 254 runs with a high score of 80 runs, while in his three 20-over matches, Chari has only scored 21 runs.

 Chari has only scored two international half-centuries and he is yet to score a big one on the biggest stage, but given his recent form, that century seems within reach.

With his form, he was named in the Zimbabwe-A team that is playing against Durham in two three-day matches but opted to miss out for personal reasons. He was one of the seven Tuskers players that were named in the Zimbabwe-A squad.

The others are Hamid, Ainsley Ndlovu, Clive Madande, Nkosana Mpofu, Milton Shumba, Tanunurwa Makoni and Mgcini Dube. Makoni and Dube will only be available for selection for the second match which is penciled for February 27-29. –@brandon_malvin

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