By Kevin Mapasure
ZIMBABWE national cricket team all-rounder Sikandar Raza has stepped up recovery after removal of stitches on his arm following a surgery and is now free to start light training.
Raza missed Pakistan’s tour to Zimbabwe where the team lost the T20 series 2-1 before the tourists won both Tests.
The right-hand batter is one of several players who missed some or all of the matches as the team was ravaged by injuries.
Batsman Craig Ervine only played the first T20 where he got injured and missed the rest of the series, while captain Sean Williams played the first T20, missed the second, returned for the third before pulling out all together owing to injury.
Tendai Chatara and Kyle Jarvis also missed out.
Ervine has since recovered and is set to return for the Bangladesh series in July while Williams is also set to feature.
Raza is also giving himself a chance to play in the series that will feature one Test in Bulawayo, three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and as many T20s in Harare.
The ODI series will be the most important part of the tour as points gained from it will count in the 2023 World Cup qualification table.
Raza had a biopsy whose results allayed fears of cancer and it was confirmed that he had chronic osteomyelitis.
He underwent surgery to clean his marrow.
His stitches were removed on Monday and is now on recovery path while he has been allowed to start doing cardio exercises.
At the end of the month, Raza will be able to start lifting weights while gradually increasing his work load to strengthen his muscles.
The target is for him to start full training next month, which will be well in time for him to compete for a place in the team that takes on Bangladesh.
Bangladesh currently top the International Cricket Council Super League rankings, where the top eight nations will automatically qualify for the World Cup showcase in India.
Two more qualifiers will be drawn from a qualifying tournament that will be hosted in Zimbabwe next year.
Zimbabwe have so far played three matches where they lost two and picked up crucial points with their solitary win over Pakistan.
As part of preparations for that tour, Zimbabwe A will be hosting South Africa A starting this weekend.
They will play both the limited overs series and four-day matches where fringe players are set to get a chance to stake a claim for a place in the national team.
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