In the midst of a winning streak since making a comeback in the home series against Bangladesh in 2021, Star All-Rounder Sikandar Raza has additional motivation for the opening ODI of the series against the same opposition in Harare on Friday. While Raza was a member of the Zimbabwean team that defeated Bangladesh in 2013, the team had lost 19 straight T20 matches until ending the losing skid on Friday.
Zimbabwe was down to 62 for 3 and in need of a strong stand while attempting to chase a daunting 304. Innocent Kaya and Raza joined forces, but the older profound it difficult to continue after being injured on his knee by a Taskin Ahmed delivery off an inside edge in the 26th over.
“When I pulled that ball I had an inside edge and it went on to the inside of my knee where there was no padding,” Raza said. “It was tough at that point but the way I felt at that time was that the momentum was starting to shift towards us and Inno was batting really well. I didn’t want a new batter to come and start again. I was also thinking that if I have to come back (after being retired hurt) in the next 30-40 minutes, I have to start again.”
“So all I wanted was to buy my time out there, and I said to myself if I give myself time, the body gets warm and then take medicine, use the spray and Inshallah we see where I am at. Yeah the first 40 minutes was really tough but Alhamdulillah it worked out pretty well in the end,” he added.
Sikandar Raza’s desire to keep his opponents’ winning streak intact on the evening provided him with the drive to battle harder, even in the face of an injury like this.
“I am one of those guys who looks at the stats you know, and I saw that stats yesterday, I read an article that says Bangladesh have got I think 20 (wins) up on us. I looked at it and I was like you know guys it would be nice if we win the game.
“I think at the start we were too low in energy and we got together and we said guys this is not the right attitude and the coach actually said that in the warm-up as well and that got us to bring those energy levels up and the result,” he said.
In addition, Raza highlighted the dressing room’s pleasant atmosphere to the presence of towering figures like Dave Houghton and Lance Klusener.
“When he speaks, it is very substantial, it’s very heavy and it’s to the point. I think when he speaks he only speaks for a little while but it holds a lot of meaning and the team buys into what he is saying and there is lot of respect towards our coach and there is lot of love giving back to the team. The dressing room is in very good mental space and that’s why these things happen,” Raza said.
Zimbabwe will try to win the ODI series when the teams meet for the second time on Sunday after already defeating Bangladesh in the T20I series.
“Dave is very clear that it is not our XI players that win us the game but it’s the whole squad. So when you replace somebody it’s because you possess the same quality as the other guy and you believe in yourself.
“I thought Inno was special today. Lance Klusener is very big on one thing and that is to put the team on a position and so Luke Jongwe can come and do what he is assigned to do (finishing role). So when Inno and I were batting, we said you know this is our role and we should fulfill it so that Burly and Milton and power hitters can execute their roles when when they come in. They shouldn’t have to do our roles. So that whole mentality came from Lance,” he said.