Teams Played For
Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe A, Chittagong Vikings, Montreal Tigers, Paktia Panthers, Tshwane Spartans, Karachi Kings, Amsterdam Knights, Northern Warriors, Heat Stormers
Sikandar Raza Butt is a Pakistani-born Zimbabwean cricketer. Despite being born in Pakistan, he migrated to Zimbabwe with his whole family and teammate Saad Khan in 2001. He soon became one of the best domestic batsmen and caught the selector’s eye. The only issue was the Citizenship which he got in 2011.
After the country’s domestic structure went through an overhaul in 2009, Raza played in List A matches with success. A series of top performances caught the eye of the Zimbabwe selectors who included him in Zimbabwe’s 2011 Cricket World Cup pool but he could not breakthrough in the final squad.
The all-rounder scored 60 runs on his Test debut against Pakistan at Harare Sports Club on September 3rd, 2013 and showed sparks of brilliance thereafter. The explosive batter backed it up with an 82-run knock against India in his 4th ODI. However, the aforementioned tour of Sri Lanka was the real coming of age series for Raza.
He became an overnight sensation after winning the Man of the Match award for a crucial cameo in a pressure situation chasing 204 on a rank-turner in Hambantota in July 2017. In the same series against Sri Lanka, Raza scored his maiden Test century guiding Zimbabwe to post a huge total for the hosts to chase. Despite his brilliant knock, Sri Lanka chased down 389 and won the one-off Test series by recording the highest chase on Asian soil.
During the second Test against West Indies in October 2017, the Sialkot-born all-rounder stepped up as a breathtaking bowler and scalped his first five-wicket haul in Test Cricket. Apart from fifer, Raza also scored two fifties and became only the second Test cricketer to score 80 plus in both innings and take a five-wicket haul after Jacques Kallis.
Raza was not offered a central contract by the Zimbabwe board in 2018. Unfortunately, he did not tick all the boxes and so the Contracts Committee decided he was not deserving of a contract this time around.
In January 2020, the seasoned campaigner took the second-best bowling figures in Test Cricket for a Zimbabwe bowler with 7 for 113 runs and became the epitome of Zimbabwe Cricket.
Things turned for good once again as Raza became one of those freelance T20 players who ply their trade in leagues across the world. Till now Raza has represented Paktia Panthers in the Afghanistan Premier League, Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League and Chittagong Vikings in the Bangladesh Premier League recently.
At 34 years of age, he has four good years of cricket in him. With the required support and increased exposure, Raza still has the opportunity to leave his legacy behind.
(As of March 2021)