All you cricket fans may already be knowing about Zimbabwe’s recent success in Sri Lanka. Ranked #11 in the ICC ODI Rankings, not many would’ve expected the Zimbabwe Cricket Team to do well on this tour, especially since they barely get to play a lot of international cricket throughout the year. For those who don’t know about this, here’s what happened in brief:
Zimbabwe 🇿🇼 created a storm in the cricketing world by successfully completing a 300+ chase in the 1st ODI and beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. However, the hosts played like champs and won the next two games. Guess what happened next?
Sikandar Raza social profiles🌐:
SIKANDAR RAZA ON ZIMBABWE’S TRIUMPH IN SRI LANKA:
Q1. Zimbabwe were down 1-2 after losing both the second and third games. How confident was the team after that? Did you guys dream of winning two on the trot and securing the series?
Answer: There was a lot of belief in the camp of having a good series. The belief increased especially after we completed that record chase in the 1st ODI. Even when we were trailing 1-2, we never lost hope and believed that we can make it 2-2 and then carry on to win the series.
Q2. Who do you credit this series win to? If anyone.
Answer: Credit for the win goes to everyone who was involved in the tour. That includes not just the team of 25 people, but it also involves our management back home in Zimbabwe and the players who were part of the 30-man squad as well.
Zimbabwe not only recorded their first ODI win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, but also completed their first series win against Sri Lanka. They recorded an overseas series victory for the first time in 8 years (last against Kenya) and their last series win against a test playing nation came way back in January 2001 (16 years ago), against New Zealand.
Q3. There were many ‘firsts’ that Zimbabwe accomplished across this ODI series, the greatest being their first ever series win in Sri Lanka – a truly HISTORIC moment. Has the feeling set in as yet?
Answer: No bro, the feeling hasn’t sunk in as yet.
He is currently not just a part of the team, but a major contributor as well. 3/21 with the ball, 27* with the bat in the 5th ODI, and a total of 4 wickets and 137 runs in the series shows what a vital cog he is in the Zimbabwe Cricket set up.
Q4. 137 runs and 4 wickets in this series; finishing two games off with a SIX; Man of the Match in the final as well. How does it feel being one of the most important members of the squad at the moment?
Answer: I still wouldn’t say that I am an ‘important’ part of this successful tour, as to me everyone who came out on the tour held an equal value to the team and each one is more than capable of winning games for the country. So for me, being a part of this historic tour is a very humbling experience.
Q5. We’ve always known Sikandar Raza to be a batsman who bowls part-time but no one bowled more than you in this series. We also saw the wicket of Upul Tharanga – an off-spinner’s delight. Would you now rank yourself as a better batsman or a better bowler?
Answer: Yes, out of a maximum possible 50 overs, I think I bowled 49 in this series of five ODIs but that’s only because the captain (Graeme Cremer) and the team had shown the confidence in me. When you have that backing and support from everyone around, it helps a lot.
When it comes to better batsman or bowler, I will still say and in sha Allah it will stay that way, that I am ‘A batsman who can bowl’.
Q6. How were the celebrations after that night’s series victory?
Answer: The celebrations went on till very late. The whole squad along with the team management and technical staff met in the team room and celebrated this huge success.
Q7. You’ve become a crucial part of the limited overs squad but haven’t played many tests. How do you look at test cricket? Do you think you can achieve the same success in the longest format?
Answer: Ever since my test debut, I’ve only missed 3 test matches for Zimbabwe and that’s only because we don’t play enough of test cricket. Hopefully, once we start playing test matches more often in sha Allah we all will do well (not just me) in the longest format of the game too.
Sikandar’s last test match was in Aug 2016. He’s played 70 ODIs for Zimbabwe but just 6 test matches. What can Zimbabwe Cricket do about this? Will they be able to give these talented bunch of cricketers a chance to shine in the most challenging format of the game as well? It’s long overdue, if you ask me.
Q8. What’s the next target for the Zimbabwe Cricket Team? More such international tours? Or qualification to the 2019 World Cup?
Answer: The 2019 World Cup is in mind but more international tours is the main goal at the moment, as it will be a great place to start from. Regular cricket at the highest level will help us to get better at playing international cricket.
Will this tour prove to be Zimbabwe’s rise as a cricketing nation? Or Sri Lanka’s decline?
I would like to thank Sikandar Raza once again for taking time out to make this interview possible. I would like to congratulate him on this historic overseas result, and we at Read Scoops wish him the best of luck for his cricketing future. May he and Zimbabwe Cricket both prosper!
– Dwayne Fernandes, Read Scoops