Harare: Zimbabwe have left opening batsman Vusi Sibanda out of their squad to tour New Zealand after he was embroiled in a spat with the country's cricket authorities.
Sibanda's name was missing from a 16-man squad list issued by Zimbabwe Cricket on Thursday for the tour in January and February. Sibanda fell out with officials and was dropped from the side after he left to play league cricket in Australia during November and December without clearance.
In a statement, Zimbabwe Cricket said "Sibanda was not selected for the traveling party as the selectors upheld the ZC Cricket Committee policy which states that to be eligible for national selection, one has to be contracted to play domestic cricket in Zimbabwe. At the beginning of the season, Sibanda was offered a ZC contract which he declined in favour of one to play Grade Cricket in Australia."
The opener was one of Zimbabwe's best performers after returning to the Test arena last year following the country's six-year self-imposed exile. His place has been taken by middle-order batsman Stuart Matsikenyeri, who returns to the team almost two years after an unsuccessful tour of the West Indies.
Matsikenyeri has been recalled on the back of his consistent form in the early stages of Zimbabwe's domestic league season.
There were also places for seamer Shingi Masakadza, the younger brother of batsman Hamilton, and all-rounder Keegan Meth. The two, alongside wicketkeeper Foster Mutizwa, are the only players who are not capped at Test level.
Leg-spinner Graeme Cremer and swing bowler Brian Vitori both make comebacks from injury. Cremer will go as the second spinner for the one-off Test match at Napier starting January 26 and will return home afterwards, to be replaced by Prosper Utseya for the rest of the tour.
The two sides will also meet for three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches during February.
Zimbabwe squad: Brendan Taylor (captain), Hamilton Masakadza, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Tatenda Taibu, Malcolm Waller, Ray Price, Elton Chigumbura, Regis Chakabva, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Foster Mutizwa, Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Keegan Meth, Kyle Jarvis, Brian Vitori, Shingi Masakadza.