Life, it’s said, is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.

Had that not been the case then Sikandar Raza, from Sialkot in Pakistan, who dreamt of flying fighter jets for Pakistan Air force wouldn’t have shifted to Zimbabwe, following disconsolation surrounding a failed vision test, an essential for selection.

Had destiny not roped in the courageous lad in its plans, he wouldn’t have moved to cricket post his Bachelors in Software from Glasgow Caledonian University and without it, he wouldn’t have emerged big for Zimbabwean Cricket.

Batsman with indomitable courage, bowler with clever variations and, a fielder agile as a slickly shot arrow from a precise bow, Sikandar Raza is all that and more.

Raza wasn’t born to Zimbabwe Cricket. He got transported into the field of his dream.

While in England, Raza realized he was good at the sport and no sooner he arrived in Zimbabwe, he joined Mashonaland Eagles, commencing his domestic run.

Despite initial consistency, real reckoning didn’t come until a measured 44 against Mid West Rhinos.

While it wasn’t a fifty, Raza’s efforts helped Southern Rocks to win 40-over championship, attracting selectors’ attention.

Come 2013 and the light-eyed bloke was ready to don the traditional reds for a Zimbabwe, desiring to transform the passionate colour into consistent practice.

Many are blissfully unaware that Raza played his maiden tie against the semi-finalists of Champions Trophy 2017, Bangladesh

Jumping and hopping around, in chasing, containing bluntly thudded strokes toward the boundary, Raza’s adequately equipped a quintessential albeit unsung strength of Zimbabwe: fielding.

It must be said, in lending grace and diligence to a stroke often described as ‘cheeky’, Raza’s swept away misappropriations concerning Zimbabwe’s batting talent, that draws prominence from a Masakadza and Sean Ervine.

His numbers might not draw awe but reaffirm credibility in the notion that Zimbabwe can pull things together, provided they’re supported internally and my the respectable ICC.

6 Tests, 389 runs; batting average of 32 and, 65 ODIs, 1707 runs at a 31.6.

There are also 3 hundreds, including a revered fighting ton against New Zealand. 

With more ODI caps on his able shoulders, you would liken him to a Hussey rising to prominence.

As an able manager of crisis situations, Zimbabwe smile with glee at their young go-to man during embattled situations, ever a concern for a side struggling to rise back to days of past prominence.

How many batsmen can you recount who’ve played from no. 1 to 7- for the cause of the side’s stability?

Raza, uncomplainingly, has gone about doing his job, that sees him cater to twin responsibilities of being a useful exponent of both slow, deceptive, varying off spinners, in addition to being a handy middle-order bat.

But this also raises a concern. Has Raza been given his due while the likes of Hamilton Masakadza and Sean Ervine have been hailed during this time?

Playing consistently, relentlessly, since his debut, lagging Masakadza only by a thin margin of 52 ODI runs, whose average he betters in either formats, to say Raza is vital to Zimbabwe’s chances of solidifying its game and strengthening its cricket would to state that sunshine is vital to fight a Vitamin D deficiency.

Must it be shared that while the trio- Masakadza, Ervine and Williams- bat at 2,3 and 4, Raza bats generally between 5-7; coming close to the death overs, often having few support batsmen at the other end.

But Raza doesn’t lodge complaints about the state of their Cricket, nor cribs

He prefers contributing and is someone who’s raised the bar of batting high given his useful renditions of 3 vital ODI hundreds while frontline batsmen- Ervine and Masakadza have managed just 1 individually.

Implicit in the DNA of a great player in making is the substance he adds to the team’s spirit.

During a Tri Series game, at home, versus the Windies, Raza sprinted 30 meters to encourage Elton Chigumbura, after the bowler exhibited some fine fielding.

While West Indies are no champions of the ODI arena, despite possessing a flurry of power hitters, Raza helped defeat the 2016 ICC World T20 champions in his blazing 76 against them at

How many times have you seen a Zimbabwean rescue the side wilting at 89-7, taking them to a win?

Often reserving praise for his teammates, Raza credited Tendai Chisoro who made an unbeaten 42, also taking 2 wickets in that crucial victor.

Have you seen Raza’s recent form? It’s more worth than seeing a Windies drown in despair or a South Africa choke habitually

In an important series against associate nations- Scotland, The Netherlands, he’s picked 7 prized wickets, stroked valuables like an unbeaten 31 and, an unbeaten 58.

In 2015, returning to the land of his birth, he powered a storming, unbeaten 100 against Pakistan.

The unflappable bloke shares with earnestness that having regrets isn’t too great an idea; adding, “In my childhood I dreamt of becoming a fighter pilot. I even appeared in the entrance exam of Pakistan Air Force in Lower Topa (Murree). “About 10,000 candidates appeared in the test and only 60 got selected. “I was one of 60 guys who passed the test. After three-and-a-half years they deemed me unfit to fly the aircraft due to medical reasons. But, no regrets.”

“God always has plans for us, and am enjoying working hard. I think, we mustn’t get afraid to try new things.”

It needs no elaboration to suggest the man Raza is, who, at 31, spares not much of a thought for the recognition of his driven efforts to resuscitate Zimbabwean Cricket- perhaps, right now, the only aim of their playing 11.

Raza is 2nd on the table of most ODI runs scored since 1.1.2013 for Zimbabwe


No. Name Matches Runs Average
1 H.Masakadza 58 1759 30.85
2 Sikandar Raza 65 1707 31.61
3 Sean Williams 59 1672 34.12
4 Craig Ervine 37 1094 35.29


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