Dev Tyagi ∙ Aug 30 2022, 1:23 PM | 4 Min Read

Sikandar Raza: Why we need to talk more about him

Chances are, at this time you’re still thinking about the India and Pakistan T20I. That’s despite the fact that the two are slated to face each other soon again. Just a matter of a few days. 

image-l7fv7wp8Sikandar Raza after scoring an ODI ton against India

There’s also a great possibility that you’re already wondering about who’s going to lift the T20 World Cup. “Can there be an India v Pakistan final?” 

“How good might that be,” you wonder. 

There’s also a chance that somewhere in that little vacant area called life, which exists when you’re done with the Monday morning blues, random WhatsApps, Tinder hook-ups and that gym routine, you’ve already decided who plays the cover drive better. 

Not Brian Lara to the contemporary generation. 

The rise of Sikandar Raza

Regardless of what you do or think, there’s an enormous chance that in the part of the world called Zimbabwe, a young cricketer is idol worshiping Sikandar Raza. 

To him, Sikandar Raza is the hero to be. The man to emulate. The cricketer to become. 

Can you even doubt the kid?

For those who may not have stepped out of the world inhabited by legends like AB, Kohli, Bumrah, Babar, Gayle and Root, Sikandar Raza is more than a cricketer. 

The right hander who once fancied becoming an aviator in all seriousness is a hero. 

A hero that Zimbabwe need and are lucky to have, though one world cricket needs to talk a great deal about. 

To the world where mainstream headlines are so often centred on cricketers who anyways make headlines everyday, Sikandar Raza is a reminder that Cricket journalism is so often, insular. 

Ignorant even. 

It may not matter to an India hardly ever lacking cricketing heroes that Sikandar Raza hit a sixth of his ODI runs this year. 

But guess what, it matters. 

It might not be a key talking point in the English press that Sikandar Raza hit three gorgeous centuries in one day cricket this year. 

image-l7fvqlymRaza posing for his scintillating ton in ICC Qualifiers

But truth is, each time the Sialkot-born did so, he did it with an intent and purpose that defines Zimbabwean cricket. 

Fearless Raza deserves more plaudits

Courage and trying until the end are at the epicentre of all things Sikandar Raza.

He’s a cricketer who’s never had it easy and probably never will. 

From being born in Pakistan to ultimately playing for a country situated millions of miles away, Raza’s not just walked the long distance; he’s traversed cultures and uncertainty. 

When he could so easily have been dissuaded by the constant calamity striking the game in Zimbabwe, the bearded battler kept giving everything to Zimbabwean cricket. 

In the course of the last half a decade itself, Sikandar Raza saw, as did his teammates, someone like a Brendon Taylor regaining form, only to step away, careers torn by controversy and when that wasn’t enough; then the Zimbabwean side banned by the sport’s elite governing body itself, i.e., the ICC.

Yet, here he is; unfazed as ever and dependable as always. 

At a time where we singularly remained obsessed with the IPL, the BBL, the PSL - and when not, then cricketers’ Instagram accounts, Sikandar Raza kept Zimbabwean flag fluttering with pride. 

Sikandar Raza took India by surprise

A few days back, he all but took down India by himself in an assault second to none in terms of its bravery. 

His 115 off 95 deliveries at Harare nearly gave heartache to a Bumrah-less India. 

After missing on scoring in the first contest, Raza wasted no time whatever in sending Indian fielders on leather hunt. 

That’s when a Chahal, Shardul and Chahar powered Indian line-up challenged Zimbabwe’s authority. 

Prior to that, his 117 and 135 stung Bangladesh like a Scorpion from the desert. 

Such a sight can be terrifying in just a fraction of a second. 

The question that must be asked - but isn’t - concerns every one of us who’s continued to cast a blind eye on a team as enterprising as Zimbabwe. 

“What good is being achieved by restricting our thinking only towards the powerful teams and not those that are taking powerful stride in the sport?” 

Maybe the fault lies in the stars or maybe with those who obsess only about narratives that begin and end with the Fab Four for instance. 

Or maybe it’s not faulty at all; it’s just the way life is: indifferent and cold.

Not that Sikandar Raza will find his hopes deflated by the lack of attention his career’s got. 

That’s when he’s fired 620 plus ODI runs this year, scored as many centuries as Shai Hope (for 2022), collected runs with more authority than an often shaky Virat Kohli and kept quiet about the growing indifference his team is subjected to. 

Sky is the limit for Raza

He’s a Sikandar of his own destiny; not a cricketer dependant on flouncy media coverage that sounds like some sugary dessert.

Raza’s celebrations upon reaching a century are that of a man eternally committed to the cause of his country’s cricket. 

He never lacks the zeal and always pushes himself forwards for Zimbabwe for that is where the real heroes belong. 

Ahead of the curve yet unaffected by its bends!

Also Read: BCCI hopeful of Jasprit Bumrah regaining fitness ahead of T20 World Cup 2022