Sikandar Raza Butt is a Pakistan born Zimbabwean cricket player who plays for the national cricket team. In his career as a cricketer, Sikandar has played for a number of professional clubs both in Pakistan and in Zimbabwe including the latter's national squad.
Sikandar Raza Butt was born on the 24th of April in 1986 in Sialkot, Pakistan. Despite being born in Pakistan, he emigrated to Zimbabwe in 2001 along with his family and team-mate Sad Khan. Although there are speculations that Zimbabwe Cricket brought them to add depth to the Logan Cup squads. He soon became one of the best batsman in the domestic game and caught the eyes of the selection panel. The only problem was citizenship issues, which was eventually granted in 2011.
Sikandar joined the Pakistani Airforce training after completing in high school. He wrote the exam that got him into Air Force college. He was one of 60 to have won a place among 60,000 applicants. But in his third year, he failed an eye test. He was told that 7 out of 10 people have the problem in normal life, but for him a dream was shattered. Sikandar got admitted to Glasgow Caledonian University, where he picked up cricket as a semi-professional.
Migration to Zimbabwe
Sikandar Raza migrated to to Zimbabwe in the company of his family and friend cum fellow cricketer Sad Khan in 2001 whist he was still a teenager. This was after a protracted scramble for citizenship with the Zimbabwean authorities who at first denied him arguing that he was born in Pakistan and was not legible to have entitlement to Zimbabwean citizenship. The citizenship was granted in 2011, ten years after his entry into the country.
Raza made his debut appearance for Mashonaland Eagles in 2007. Raza entered the Zimbabwean competitive cricket league in 2009. This was after the local cricket was revamped to pave way for new players and new administrators after years of player exodus due to the unfriendly economic environment accompanied by hyper-inflation. He played for Mashonaland Eagles in the competitive Zimbabwean league. After spending some time with Mashonaland Eagles, he then moved to joined another local club Southern Rocks. He made his T20 debut for Southern Rocks in 2010. While playing for Southern Rocks in January 2011, Raza achieved his career best List-A score of 80. In 2011 when the selectors published the initial squad for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Raza was part of the team. This was due to his somewhat commendable performance in the local league which earned him recognition at national level. After a series of impressive games, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) began a process to get him the necessary papers that would qualify him to play for the country and in May 2013, he made his international debut for Zimbabwe, in the first ODI against Bangladesh, thus becoming the 116th player to appear for Zimbabwe in the format. Four months later, he made his Test debut too, against Pakistan in Harare.
In the Zimbabwean Cricket Squad
In the third Test against Chittagong, he scored a fifty in both innings, and despite missing out on two potential hundreds, he attracted admiration from the cricket loving fans. In the same match, he bowled 61 overs to aid in his team's quest for a breakthrough. In 2014, after a half-century in the first innings in the Dhaka Test, Raza had three quiet innings before bursting into life in Chittagong, getting off to two good starts by making 82 and 65. Sikandar Raza's maiden ODI century helped Zimbabwe crush Afghanistan by eight wickets and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series. Raza's blistering 133-ball 141 that was laced with seven sixes and 11 fours also completely overshadowed a landmark reached by Afghanistan's 17-year-old opener Usman Ghani, who also hit a maiden ton.
Test debut -Zimbabwe v Pakistan at Harare, Sep 3-7, 2013 Last Test -Bangladesh v Zimbabwe at Chittagong, Nov 12-16, 2014
ODI debut Zimbabwe v Bangladesh at Bulawayo, May 3, 2013 Last ODI Bangladesh v Zimbabwe at Dhaka, Dec 1, 2014 ODI statistics
T20I debut -Zimbabwe v Bangladesh at Bulawayo, May 11, 2013
Last T20I -United Arab Emirates v Zimbabwe at Sylhet, Mar 21, 2014 T20I statistics
First-class debut- Easterns (Zimbabwe) v Northerns (Zimbabwe) at Mutare, Apr 12-15, 2007 Last First-class -Bangladesh v Zimbabwe at Chittagong, Nov 12-16, 2014 List A debut -Northerns (Zimbabwe) v Westerns at Harare, Mar 22, 2007 Last List A -Mashonaland Eagles v Matabeleland Tuskers at Harare, Jan 14, 2015 Twenty20 debut -Southern Rocks v Desert Vipers at Harare, Feb 13, 2010 Last Twenty20 -United Arab Emirates v Zimbabwe at Sylhet, Mar 21, 2014
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