Former West Indies batsman Brian Lara will join the 15-man Zimbabwe cricket squad for preparations ahead of the ICC World Cricket Cup to be held in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka beginning in February.
Lara, who holds the world record first class score of 400 runs, will be joined by Hampshire's high scoring all-rounder of seven years standing, Sean Ervine, when they train in Dubai and also at an India venue from February 1.
Zimbabwe will play two warm-up matches there and two more in India, prompting national coach Alan Butcher of England to state that they will be better or as well prepared for the World Cup as any of their 13 rivals.
Ervine will join his young brother Craig in the squad on a three-year contract, signed over Christmas, but will remain with the England County side as an overseas player.
He has been with Hampshire since soon after the racial and financial dispute between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and its players in 2002/3 which all but destroyed top level cricket here.
Not selected is Zimbabwe's best known batsman Hamilton Masakadza, whose form has deteriorated. Masakadza scored a century against West Indies on his Test debut at 18 years old and was player of the year here in 2009.
Commenting on the squad, Alan Butcher said it includes world class spinners in Graeme Cremer, Ray Price (nephew of three-time major golf champion Nick Price) and Gregory Lamb and there was decent depth to the batting.
Even after its 2010 ODI record of six victories (two of these against India and Sri Lanka) and 15 defeats, he expected Zimbabwe to perform well, especially following recent ODI tour experience in Bangladesh, one of their Group venues.
The squad: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Regis Chakabva, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Sean Ervine, Gregory Lamb, Shingirai Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Ray Price, Edward Rainsford, Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya and Sean Williams. Manager Lovemore Banda.