Zimbabwe have become the 7th country to announce their World Cup team, leaving just Ireland undeclared as the competition in July rapidly approaches. Just one member of the 2007 World Cup team survives, that is Andy Baker who is now the captain of the team. There are two other players who did also play in the 2003 World Cup but just not for Zimbabwe, they are Sophie Sargeant (formerly of the UK) and Kelly Redford (formerly of South Africa).
Both were very highly rated by their previous countries, Tony Higgs (the former South African coach) said of Kelly at the 2007 World Cup that she had the ability to become the most devastating attack player in the world and Sophie Sargeant was one of the top UK ladies players over the last few years. What reception they will receive from their previous countries’ supporters remain to be seen. They are joined in the ladies side by Suzanne Sargeant (who played for Zimabwe in 2003 World Cup) and Audrey Logan. The remaining men are Michael Krynauw, who some people have described as the best men’s number 1 in the world, Danie Swan and Graham Keith.
Zimbabwe finished 5th at the last World Cup and were disappointed with their result. It would seem likely that they will improve on this result in 2011, though they do have the tougher group with both Australia and New Zealand for company, along with the reasonably unknown quantity of Zambia. However, the predictions are that they should be able to overcome Zambia (and they will know how they will play more than most as they play them annually in the ZimZam tournament) and they are probably slightly stronger than New Zealand. Whether they can threaten the world champions Australia is a different matter but if they finish second in the group and make the semi finals they are guaranteed at least a 4th place finish, which is where they finished in 2003. They obviously will want more than that and probably in this team they have their best chance yet of getting at least to the World Cup final.