With hardly a month left before the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, participating nations are revving up excitement for the tournament by revealing their squads.
The whole thing kicks off on February 14 with the action divided between co-hosts Australia and New Zealand. The format for the tournament is One Day International cricket (ODI), so teams will have to duke it out with limited overs in single day matches.
South Africa and Zimbabwe, who are among the qualifiers, have each released the names of the 15 players who will represent them and vie for the trophy. The layers called up for the green and gold are:
AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw and Dale Steyn.
The Proteas have yet to win a world cup as they usually get knocked out of the running during crucial stages.
The 22 year old wicketkeeper, de Kock, was named to the squad despite not having completely healed from an ankle injury. His inclusion is a gamble of faith by the man at the helm, coach Russell Domingo. The South African squad is a nearly even one in terms of experience, with captain de Villiers being part of the 8 players who have had world cup experience while the remaining 7 are novices.
The lineup for Zimbabwe, who are in Pool B with South Africa is:
Elton Chigumbura (captain), Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Solomon Mire, Tawanda Mupariwa, Tinashe Panyangara, Brendan Taylor (wicketkeeper), Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.
The side was announced in Harare on 7 January. Batsman Hamilton Masakadza has been named to take part in his first World Cup after 14 years as an international cricketer, having made his debut in 2001. The two countries will meet in Hamilton on February 15. No African country has ever won the cricket world cup, but if South Africa doesn’t choke or Zimbabwe pulls off some miraculous upsets, this could very well change.