Sikandar Raza’s involvement in the Zimbabwe national cricket team’s tours of South Africa and Bangladesh hangs in the balance as the batsman is still locked in negotiations with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) after disciplinary issues were raised.
BY Kevin Mapasure
Raza is out of the country and has not been involved in training taking place in Harare.
He is one of several players that missed the T-20 tri-series that involved Australia and Pakistan before Zimbabwe took on the latter in a five-match one-day international (ODI) series.
Having committed to play in Canada, Raza took the option of cancelling his contract with ZC, who demanded that he plays in that series.
He has expressed interest in playing for Zimbabwe again and he is one of the players who have been called by the selection panel.
The right hander still has administrative issues to iron out with ZC, which could scuttle his chances of playing in the next two assignments, depending on the outcome.
He had a pending case with ZC after he chose to travel to England earlier this year without approval and the association wants him fined.
NewsDaySport has been told that Raza insists that he got permission and is likely to resist being fined.
Besides Raza’s case, things have returned to normal, with the players that declined to participate in the last two series, availing themselves following the settling of their dues by ZC.
Yesterday, the team continued with its preparations for the South Africa and Bangladesh series, with batsmen Craig Ervine and Sean Williams taking part at Harare Sports Club.
New coach Lalchand Rajput now finally has the opportunity to work with a full strength side after he was previously forced to make do with a makeshift squad following the withdrawal of several regulars.
Zimbabwe faced Australia and Pakistan in a T-20 triangular series where the hosts failed to win a single match, but were whitewashed in their five-match ODI series against the latter in a five-match affair.
A 30-member squad has been put together, with the majority of the players that featured in the two series making it into the side while Malcolm Waller, who played in the triangular series and withdrew from the squad in the ODI series, was left out.
Solomon Mire, who also missed the ODI series owing to injury, has been named in the squad, but was yet to report for training by yesterday afternoon.
Zimbabwe will clash with Bangladesh for two Tests and three ODIs in a tour that comes after their visit to South Africa, where they will play limited overs cricket.
In South Africa, Zimbabwe will play the Proteas in three ODIs and the same number of T-20 internationals. The tough tour to South Africa will help prepare Zimbabwe for Bangladesh, a place where they have struggled in recent years.
Bangladesh Cricket Board decided to move the series so that it does not clash with general elections in that country next year. Zimbabwe will head straight to Bangladesh from South Africa where they will play their final match on October 14.
They have three ODIs scheduled for September 30, October 3 and 6. The three T-20s will be played on October 9, 12 and 14.
Zimbabwe last played Test cricket when they hosted West Indies in October last year and it will be a year since they last played that format when they take on Bangladesh.