Raza to miss West Indies Test series

Zimbabwe cricket player Sikandar Raza

ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) has granted star all-rounder Sikandar Raza permission to miss the upcoming two match Test series against West Indies so that he can feature in the on-going International League T20 in the UAE.

Raza, who was early this week named in the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s ODI and T20I teams of the year, in recognition of his achievements last year, missed the Twenty20 International (T20I) series against Ireland due to franchise cricket commitments in the UAE and Bangladesh.

He returned to feature in the ODI series against the same opponents and even stood as captain in the second match of the series in the absence of captain Craig Ervine.

The 36-year-old all-rounder, who has been in high demand from T20 franchise teams around the world, is determined to utilise the opportunity to continue building his profile in the shorter formats of the game globally.

The ZC administration has been supportive of Raza’s ambitions in limited overs cricket, which could benefit the team in the World Cup qualifiers in winter, and has thus, granted him permission to feature in the International League T20 clashes directly with the incoming tour by the West Indies side.

The first Test is slated for February 4-8 at Queens and the second for February 12-16 at the same venue, with both matches starting at 10am local time.

The player confirmed on his social media platforms that he would be returning to the UAE where he has been featuring for the Dubai Capitals.

“It’s been great to be back home and wear the #national jersey Time to head back to #dubai for ILT20Official and join my Dubai Capitals family. See you soon #Inshallah,” Raza wrote on his Facebook page yesterday.

Raza’s absence is a huge blow to Zimbabwe, who are already without other seasoned players such as the regular Test captain Sean Williams and striker bowler Blessing Muzarabani.

Experienced wicketkeeper, batsman and vice-captain Regis Chakabva is also unlikely to feature in the series against the Windies after recently relocating to Australia with his family soon after the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Raza’s absence means Zimbabwe will be without their talisman for the second successive Test match after he missed the one-off Test against Bangladesh in July 2021 — the last time the Chevrons pulled over the whites in international cricket.

The absence of some of the seasoned stars such as Raza, however, provides for some of the unheralded players, who have been doing well in the Logan Cup to put their hands up for selection during the series.

Some of the players will have an opportunity to impress selectors after being included in the Zimbabwe XI side which will take on the West Indies in a four-day warm-up game which gets underway at Bulawayo Athletics Club on Saturday.

Mountaineers captain Timycen Maruma and seamer Donald Tiripano are the most experienced players in the Zimbabwe XI side which also includes Carl Mumba, Wessly Madhevere and Milton Shumba.

Zimbabwe XI Squad: Faraza Akram, Priviledge Chesa, Tanaka Chivanga, Joylord Gumbie, Wessly Madhevere, Tanunurwa Makoni, Timycen Maruma, William Mashine, Kudzai Maunze, Tapiwa Mafudza, Carl Mumba, Tony Munyonga, Milton Shumba, Donald Tiripano, Tafadzwa Tsiga

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