It is the first national call-up for Shahbaz, the 27-year-old batting allrounder. In his short career at the representative level so far, Shahbaz has made a name as a strong lower middle-order batter and left-arm spinner, both for Bengal - whom he represents in India's domestic circuit - as well as Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
In first-class cricket, Shahbaz has a batting average of 41.64 and a bowling average of 19.47 from 18 games, while the corresponding numbers in List A cricket are 47.28 and 39.20.
Shahbaz started out with Royal Challengers in 2020, two years after making his debut for Bengal, and has so far scored 279 runs at an average of 18.60 and strike rate of 118.72 from 29 games, while also picking up 13 wickets at an average of 36.31 and economy rate of 8.58.
Washington's participation in the three-match series, to be played in Harare between August 18 and 22, became doubtful after he injured himself on August 10 while diving in the field to try and stop a drive during his county stint with Lancashire.
He had landed awkwardly in the eighth over of Lancashire's 50-overs Royal London Cup fixture against Worcestershire at Old Trafford, and immediately left the field clutching the left shoulder.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo at the time, he felt soreness in his shoulder, which put him out of the remainder of the match. PTI quoted an unnamed BCCI official as saying that Washington "will have to undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy [NCA]".
Washington's plan was to play the Royal London Cup match against Hampshire on August 14 before leaving for Zimbabwe. The remainder of the Indian team had left for Zimbabwe on August 13.
But now he will fly back to India, on August 19, to undergo treatment on his shoulder with a view to potentially returning to play in county cricket in September.**
This is only the latest in a long sequence of injury setbacks for Washington, the 22-year-old offspin-bowling allrounder. In February this year, he had missed India's T20Is at home against West Indies and Sri Lanka because of a hamstring injury. Then, during the IPL, where he was with Sunrisers Hyderabad, he hurt the webbing in his bowling hand twice and played just nine games.
Earlier, in January this year, he was sidelined from India's ODI tour of South Africa after testing positive for Covid-19.
The last of his 39 international appearances - four Tests, four ODIs, 31 T20Is - came during the ODI series against West Indies in Ahmedabad on February 11.
He ended up playing just three Royal London Cup matches for Lancashire, scoring 30 runs in two innings and picking up three wickets. Prior to that, he played two County Championship matches too, starring in the win over Northamptonshire with a first-innings haul of 5 for 76 and a knock of 34* in a successful chase of 278.
India are going to be led in Zimbabwe by KL Rahul, himself returning after a sequence of injury- and health-related setbacks, with VVS Laxman, the NCA chief, acting as the head coach while Rahul Dravid takes a break ahead of the Asia Cup later this month.
*This story was updated at 8.45 GMT after Shahbaz was confirmed as Washington's replacement **1510 GMT, August 18 The story was updated after Lancashire Cricket's tweet.