T20 World Cup: Pakistan-born wannabe fighter pilot Sikandar Raza flies high for Zimbabwe | Cricket News


PERTH: Sikandar Raza failed a test for Pakistan’s air force but was flying high on Thursday after playing a central role in Zimbabwe’s shock Twenty20 World Cup win over his native country.
The 36-year-old versatile man was born in Pakistan and wanted to become a pilot, but he was rejected and his family later emigrated to Zimbabwe.
He went on to pursue his higher education in Scotland.

But cricket was his calling and he played domestic cricket in Zimbabwe before making the national team in 2013.
Raza said he learned the game the hard way.
“I picked up cricket late and maybe made up for lost time,” he said.

It is the same for his adopted country.
“For Zimbabweans, most of the learning is on the job,” added the soft-spoken Raza.
“We don’t play a lot of top nations, we don’t play a lot under lights. It was my first game at Perth.”
Raza was in top form with the bat and became a hero with the ball in Perth to return figures of 3-25 as his Zimbabwean side overcame Pakistan by one run in a World Cup thriller.
Zimbabwe moved up to third in a group led by India, putting Pakistan in danger of an early exit.
Raza said afterwards that the praise of Australian great Ricky Ponting inspired him to perform on the biggest stage of all.
Former Australian captain Ponting spoke highly of Zimbabwe and picked Raza in a recent clip posted by the International Cricket Council.
“He’s 36 but he’s playing with a more youthful exuberance now. He looks like he’s 26 again, he’s running around the pitch, enjoying himself and leading from the front,” Ponting said.
Raza said it was a big confidence boost.
“When I woke up (this morning) my friend texted me and said, ‘Did you see a clip on ICC?’ and it was from Ricky Ponting talking about Zimbabwe and me,” Raza told reporters.
“Some of my friends and family messaged and said they had a tear in their eye for me. I had goosebumps, one of the greats of this game talking about Zimbabwe and especially me.
“Not that I needed an extra kick, but if I needed one, that clip did the job for me.
“I wanted to stay, but at the same time be pumped up for this game.”


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