|Sikandar Raza Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 10 in|
|Date of Birth||April 24, 1986|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
Sikandar Raza is a Zimbabwean professional cricketer who has represented his country in all 3 formats of the sport (Tests, ODIs, and T20Is), as a batting all-rounder. In the Zimbabwean domestic circuit, he has played for Northerns (2006-07-2008-09), Southern Rocks (2009-10-2010-11, 2020-21-2021-22), Mashonaland Eagles (2011-12-2016-17), and Matabeleland Tuskers (2017-18-2019-20) across all 3 formats. In franchise-based T20 cricket, Sikandar has turned out for Chittagong Vikings (2017-2018), Khulna Tigers, and Rangpur Riders (2023) in the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League); Tshwane Spartans (2018) in the MSL (Mzansi Super League); Karachi Kings (2019), Peshawar Zalmi (2020) and Lahore Qalandars (2023) in the PSL (Pakistan Super League); Trinbago Knight Riders (2020) in the CPL (Caribbean Premier League); Paktia Panthers in the APL (Afghanistan Premier League); Dambulla Aura (2022-23) in the LPL (Lanka Premier League); Dubai Capitals (2023) in the ILT20 (International League T20); and Punjab Kings (2023) in the IPL (Indian Premier League).
Sikandar Raza Butt
Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan
Sikandar had attended the Pakistan Air Force Public School Lower Topa, an all-boys military boarding school located near Patriata (also known as New Murree), a hill station in northern Punjab, Pakistan, for about 3 years. His ambition was to join the Pakistan Air Force but he failed a vision test and his dream was shattered.
A few months after he and his family moved to Zimbabwe in 2002, Sikandar shifted to Scotland, temporarily, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in software engineering at the Glasgow Caledonian University, a public university in Glasgow, Scotland.
- Father – Tasadaq Hussian Raza (Owns a motor parts business)
- Siblings – Taymoor Raza Butt (Younger Brother)
He has been represented by –
- Stem Sports, Sport & Lifestyle Management Agency, England, United Kingdom
- Richard Sydenham, Booking Agent, Big Star Creations, Sports, Publishing, and Media Company, Worcestershire, England, United Kingdom
- 24 – Test Match, One Day International (ODI), T20 International (T20I), Dambulla Aura (LPL), Lahore Qalandars (PSL), Dubai Capitals (ILT20)
- 21 – Trinbago Knight Riders (CPL)
5 ft 10 in or 178 cm
75 kg or 165.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
A private person, Sikandar has kept the details of his married life under wraps. However, he often posts pictures with his children – Muhammad Eesa and Muhammad Musa – on Instagram.
Race / Ethnicity
He is of Pakistani descent.
- Toned physique
- Side-parted, wavy hair
- Affable smile
- Sports a thick beard
He has been sponsored by –
- Splash Paints and Plastics (Zimbabwean company that manufactures paints, solvents, adhesives, and pipes)
- Shrey Sports (Indian cricket equipment manufacturer that specializes in helmets)
- The Country Club Newlands (a club/resort based in Harare, Zimbabwe)
- MB Malik (Pakistani cricket equipment manufacturer that specializes in bats)
- Pearlenta Nutri Active (Zimbabwean breakfast cereal brand)
Sikandar Raza Facts
- Born and raised in Sialkot, Pakistan, Sikandar emigrated to Zimbabwe with his family in 2002. He eventually gained Zimbabwean citizenship in 2011.
- It was during his time at the Glasgow Caledonian University, in the mid-2000s, that he realized the possibility of a cricket career – after he played the sport semi-professionally in Scotland.
- In July 2014, in the 2nd match of a 4-match bilateral home ODI series against Afghanistan, Sikandar first produced match-best bowling figures (2/25) and then scored his maiden ODI century. His knock of 141 runs helped Zimbabwe chase down a target of 257 runs inside 44 overs. He won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his performance and set a new record for the highest individual score by a Zimbabwean in any ODI run chase as well as in a successful ODI run chase.
- During this match, Sikandar and Hamilton Masakadza also set a new record for the highest partnership for any wicket for Zimbabwe in the ODI format – they had stitched together a stand of 224 runs for the opening wicket. Sikandar finished the series with the most number of runs (210) on either side and was named the ‘Player of the Series’.
- Between August 2014 and August 2022, Sikandar played 98 consecutive ODI innings without being dismissed for a duck (out for a score of zero runs). As of March 2023, only 3 male players had played more consecutive innings without registering a duck in the ODI format – Kepler Wessels for Australia and South Africa (105 innings), the late Martin Crowe (d. March 2016) for New Zealand (119 innings), and Rahul Dravid for India (120 innings). Kepler’s case was rather interesting as that block of 105 innings (between January 1983 and October 1994) was his entire ODI career.
- In November 2016, in the last match of the league phase of an ODI trilateral series, Sikandar (76 runs not out off 103 balls) and Tendai Chisoro were involved in an unbeaten stand of 91 runs. It set a new record for the highest 9th wicket partnership for Zimbabwe in the ODI format and dragged the team from the depths of 127/8 to a respectable total of 218/8. The partnership proved decisive as Zimbabwe stunned the West Indies to win the match by a narrow margin of 5 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method (a controversial system of readjusting targets in rain-affected matches).
- The win gave Zimbabwe a miraculous entry into the final of the tournament. Before the start of this match, Sri Lanka (11 points) had qualified for the final while the West Indies (7) were fancied to put it past Zimbabwe (4) and join Sri Lanka. Zimbabwe’s aforementioned narrow win, though, gave them 4 points (for a total of 8) and they leapfrogged the West Indies into the final where they were duly demolished by Sri Lanka – by a margin of 6 wickets and more than 12 overs to spare.
- In July 2017, in the last match of a 5-match bilateral away ODI series against Sri Lanka, Sikandar first bowled a very tidy spell of 3/21 to help limit Sri Lanka to a total of 203 runs and then scored 27 runs not out to lead Zimbabwe to a tight 3-wicket win. He was named the ‘Player of the Match’ for this stellar all-round performance. Zimbabwe clinched the series by a 3-2 margin, their first-ever series win against Sri Lanka.
- It was Zimbabwe’s first away series win since 2009, their first away series win against a test-playing nation since defeating Bangladesh in 2001, as well as their first-ever win in a 5-match series away from home. Incredibly, Zimbabwe’s win in the very first match of this series was their first match win in any format against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.
- Just about a week later, in the 2nd innings of Zimbabwe’s one-off away test match against Sri Lanka, Sikandar scored his maiden test match century to help set up a mammoth target of 388 runs. Sri Lanka, however, managed to hunt this target down, setting a new record for the highest successful test match run chase on Asian soil. It was also the highest successful run chase by Sri Lanka in a test match.
- In November 2017, during the 2nd match of a 2-match bilateral home test series against the West Indies, he recorded his maiden 5-wicket haul (5/99) in a test match. He also scored 80 and 89 runs, respectively, in Zimabwe’s 2 innings. This made Sikandar just the 2nd cricketer in history – after Jacques Kallis of South Africa – to have scored 80 or more runs in both innings of a test match and registered a 5-wicket haul in the same match. His all-round heroics earned him the ‘Player of the Match’ award as Zimbabwe managed to draw this match and avoid a 2-0 series defeat. This was Zimbabwe’s first draw in a test match in more than 12 years.
- In March 2018, in Zimabwe’s opening match of the group stage of the qualification tournament for the 2019 ICC (International Cricket Council) Cricket World Cup, against Nepal, Sikandar smashed 123 runs off just 66 balls to set up a massive total of 380 runs. He then bowled an excellent spell of 3/48 to help Zimbabwe win by 116 runs, earning the ‘Player of the Match’ award.
- In Zimbabwe’s next match, against Afghanistan, he produced another magnificent all-round performance – 60 runs off 68 balls to help Zimbabwe reach a respectable total of 196 runs followed by a spell of 3/40 to pull off a sensational 2-run win. He also earned a 2nd successive ‘Player of the Match’ award. In the team’s next match, Sikandar bowled a miserly spell (3/30) to help Zimbabwe defeat Hong Kong by 89 runs. Zimbabwe tied its 4th (and last) match of the group stage against Scotland and carried forward 3 points into the ‘Super Six’ stage – 2 from its win against Afghanistan and 1 from its tie against Scotland – based on its performance against fellow qualifiers from its group.
- In Zimbabwe’s first match of the ‘Super Six’ stage, he scored a match-best 69 runs not out to haul his team’s total to 211 runs. It eventually resulted in a comprehensive 107-run win over Ireland and a vital 2 points. Sikandar also won his 3rd ‘Player of the Match’ award in the tournament. By the time Zimbabwe played its 3rd (last) match of the ‘Super Six’ stage, the West Indies (8 points, all games completed) had qualified for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup while Scotland (5, all games completed) and the United Arab Emirates (0, 1 game remaining) were eliminated. This meant that Zimbabwe (5 points, 1 game remaining), Afghanistan (4, 1 game remaining), and Ireland (4, 1 game remaining) – were vying for the last qualification spot that was up for grabs.
- Hosts Zimbabwe were widely expected to steamroll the point-less United Arab Emirates in the penultimate match of the ‘Super Six’ stage and qualify for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. However, despite another outstanding all-round show from Sikandar (3/41 in 10 overs and 34 runs from 26 balls), Zimbabwean dreams were crushed as they lost a heavily rain-affected match by a mere 3 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method.
- Afghanistan then defeated Ireland by 5 wickets in the last match of the ‘Super Six’ stage to book the last spot at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. This was the first time since 1983 that Zimbabwe had failed to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup. Although it would have been a scant consolation, Sikandar was named the ‘Player of The Tournament’ for scoring 319 runs (2nd highest overall) and scalping 15 wickets (5th highest overall) in 7 matches.
- In January 2020, during a match against Sri Lanka, he recorded the 2nd-best bowling figures in a test match inning by a Zimbabwean bowler – 7/113.
- In August 2022, in the first match of a 3-match bilateral home series against Bangladesh, Sikandar scored 135 runs not out off just 109 balls to help Zimbabwe chase down a tough target of 303 runs with ease. This was Zimbabwe’s first ODI win over Bangladesh since 2013. His ‘Player of the Match’ winning knock also set a new record for the highest individual score by a batsman in ODI cricket in a successful run chase while batting at the number 5 position or lower.
- During this match, Sikandar and Innocent Kaia became just the 2nd pair of batsmen for Zimbabwe – after Stuart Carlisle and Sean Ervine – to have scored centuries in the same ODI match. Sikandar also became just the second Zimbabwean – after Craig Ervine – to have scored 2 centuries in successful ODI run chases.
- In the next match of the series, he first produced match-best bowling figures (3/56) and then scored a match-best knock of 117 runs not out to guide his team to a 5-wicket win. This gave Zimbabwe an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and he won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for the 2nd match in a row. The knock of 117 runs not out made Sikandar the first Zimbabwean player to have scored 3 ODI centuries in successful run chases.
- During this match, Sikandar also added 201 runs with Regis Chakabva – Zimbabwe’s highest 5th-wicket partnership in ODIs. Zimbabwe won the series by a 2-1 margin – their first ODI series win over Bangladesh since 2013. Sikandar finished the series as the highest run-getter overall (252 runs), the joint-highest wicket-taker overall (5 wickets), and was named the ‘Player of the Series’.
- Just a few days before this ODI series, Zimbabwe had defeated Bangladesh by a 2-1 margin in a bilateral home T20I series as well – their first T20I series win against Bangladesh. Sikandar was the highest run-getter overall (127 runs) and the ‘Player of the Series’ in the T20I series as well.
- Later in August 2022, upon scoring 115 runs off 95 balls in a heartbreaking 13-run defeat to India, he became the first player in history to have scored 3 ODI centuries in run chases in the same month of a calendar year.
- In October 2022, in Zimbabwe’s opening match of the first round of the 2022 edition of the ICC T20 World Cup, against Ireland, Sikandar smoked 82 runs in just 48 balls to guide his team to a solid total of 174 runs. Zimbabwe went on to win the match by 31 runs and he was named the ‘Player of the Match’. In the next match, against the West Indies, he bowled an exceptional spell (3/19) but was unable to prevent a 31-run defeat.
- In Zimbabwe’s 3rd (and last) match of the first round of the tournament, a do-or-die encounter against Scotland, he bowled a tidy spell of 1/20 in 4 overs to help Zimbabwe restrict Scotland to 132 runs. Sikandar then played a vital hand of 40 runs in just 23 balls to guide Zimbabwe to a 5-wicket win. He also won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for the 2nd time in the tournament.
- Zimbabwe caught a lucky break in their first match of the next (‘Super 12’) stage of the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup as rain denied South Africa a certain win and both teams got a point each. In Zimbabwe’s next match of the ‘Super 12’ stage, against Pakistan, his country of birth, Sikandar played a key role (3/25 in 4 overs) in a heart-stopping 1-run win – one of the greatest moments in the history of Zimbabwean cricket. Sikandar also won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for the 3rd time in the tournament.
- With 3 points from 2 games against heavyweights South Africa and Pakistan, Zimbabwe had a great chance at reaching the semi-final of a major ICC event (ICC Cricket World Cup / ICC T20 World Cup / ICC Champions Trophy) for the first time in history. However, Zimbabwe’s campaign derailed from this point – a deflating 3-run defeat to Bangladesh was followed by a shock 5-wicket defeat to the Netherlands despite a fighting knock of 40 runs (24 balls) by Sikandar.
- Zimbabwe’s campaign then ended with a whimper – a 71-run hammering by India – and instead of a potential place in the semi-final stage, the team ended up in the last (6th) position in its group of the ‘Super 12’ stage. The only silver lining was that Sikandar was included in the ICC‘s ‘Team of the tournament’ for scoring 219 runs (6th highest overall) and scalping 10 wickets (joint 10th highest overall) in 8 matches.
- In December 2022, when he was bought by the Punjab Kings, he became just the 4th Zimbabwean player – after Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, and Ray Price – to have earned an IPL (Indian Premier League) contract.
Featured Image by Sikandar Raza / Instagram