Sikanda Raza: The Most Underrated Cricketer On The Planet?


When pondering of world cricket’s premier all-rounders, the identify Sikandar Raza doubtless received’t instantly spring to thoughts. Why that is the case typically baffles me as his performances, notably of late, have been nothing in need of sensational. Actually, they’ve etched the Pakistan-born Zimbabwe all-rounder’s identify into the historical past books as being the primary Zimbabwean male worldwide cricketer to make the ICC ODI and T20 groups of the 12 months – a feat he achieved this previous 12 months (2022).

So, who’s Sikandar Raza and the way has he risen to the height of white ball cricket?

Nicely, for starters he was born in Sialkot, Punjab on April twenty fourth 1986. He initially wished to develop into a Pakistan Air Drive fighter pilot however noticed his dream shattered when he failed a compulsory imaginative and prescient check. He then enrolled at Glasgow Caledonian College in Scotland for a Bachelor’s Diploma in Software program Engineering and that is the place his cricketing journey actually started, enjoying for the college cricket staff and realising his capability within the sport.

He then moved to Zimbabwe, the place his mother and father had been already dwelling (having emigrated in 2002) and that is the place he started to play top quality cricket. Because the saying goes ‘one good efficiency led to a different’ and Sikandar quickly discovered himself in robust competition to play for the nationwide staff. This dream was realised in Might 2013 when he was chosen for an ODI towards Bangladesh in Bulawayo. By the top of that 12 months, he had made his debut for Zimbabwe in all three codecs, most notably in Take a look at cricket towards dwelling nation, Pakistan, in Harare.

By way of the years that adopted, Raza established himself within the Zimbabwe first staff as an aggressive prime order batter and greater than half time off-spin bowler. Notably, he notched the 4th longest duckless run by a batsman in historical past when he busied the scorers in 98 consecutive worldwide innings. Moreover, he joined the unique membership of gamers (which incorporates greats comparable to Sachin Tendulkar, Chris Gayle, Shakib Al Hassan and Jacques Kallis) to have scored 1000 runs, taken 50 wickets, and pouched 50 catches in ODI cricket.

It was not all easy crusing for Raza, nevertheless, as in March 2021 throughout a collection towards Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi, he started feeling extreme ache in his bowling arm. The ache was so extreme that it saved him up at night time (even sleeping tablets didn’t work). On his return dwelling, there have been suspicions that he could have most cancers, which might virtually actually have ended his cricketing profession. Thankfully, although, it turned out to be a overseas substance on his bone marrow. He underwent surgical procedure to take away the tumour and needed to stroll down the lengthy street to restoration with a lot uncertainty over his cricketing future.  

This street to restoration actually wasn’t a easy one. Raza misplaced a lot energy in his bowling arm and needing to tweak his motion or quit bowling completely. Nonetheless, luckily for him, he efficiently made these adjustments with the assistance of legendary West Indian spinner Sunil Narine. Certainly, he even added new dimensions to his sport: he can now bowl a number of variations of off-spin together with the inventory supply, the cross seam supply, the carrom ball, and the back-of-the-hand supply – every one has its personal means of deceiving even the perfect batters. Consequently, Raza has made a reputation for himself as a fully-fledged all-rounder and thriller spinner.

Why Sikandar Raza is likely one of the most underrated cricketers on the planet:

So, why is Sikandar Raza some of the underrated cricketers on the earth? Nicely, on shut inspection, his statistics throughout all codecs recommend some critical capability with each bat and ball.

In Take a look at cricket, his batting common of 35.96 in 17 assessments could be very strong, particularly when in comparison with distinguished all-rounders comparable to Ben Stokes (who averages 36.14 in 89 assessments), Ravindra Jadeja (who averages 36.56 in 60 assessments) and Shakib Al Hassan (38.64 in 65 assessments). It’s an identical story in ODIs with Raza boasting a mean of 36.50 in 126 ODI’s in comparison with Stokes’ 38.98 in 105 ODIs, Jadeja’s 32.62 in 171 ODIs and Shakib’s 37.55 in 224 ODIs. Shifting on to the shortest format, Raza averages 20.98 in 66 T20Is in comparison with Stokes’ 21.66 in 43 video games, Jadeja’s 24.05 in 64 video games, and Shakib’s 23.12 in 109 outings.

With regards to his bowling statistics, Raza has taken 34 wickets in 17 Exams at a mean of 42.38. This, in comparison with Stokes’ 193 wickets in 89 Exams at a mean of 31.99, Jadeja’s 242 wickets in simply 60 Exams at a mean of simply 24.71, and Shakib’s 231 wickets in 65 Exams at a mean of 31.18, might be the world the place he wants to enhance most. In ODI’s, Raza averages 45.32 with 71 wickets to his identify in 126 matches. Stokes’ averages 42.39 with 74 wickets in 105 matches, Jadeja averages 37.36 with 189 wickets in 171 matches and Shakib averages simply 29.06 with 294 wickets in 224 matches. Nonetheless, Raza’s bowling has been considerably more practical in T20s, the place he averages simply 26.65 with 38 wickets in 66 T20Is. Stokes averages 32.92 with 26 wickets in 43 matches, Jadeja averages 28.49 with 51 wickets, and Shakib averages a superb 21.21 with 128 wickets in 109 matches.

While these stats don’t fairly paint Sikandar Raza because the equal of the world’s most celebrated all-rounders (at the least from a bowling perspective), it have to be remembered that within the 12 months 2022, Raza averaged an exemplary 27.12 throughout all codecs taking 33 wickets in 39 matches. This reveals that he’s a really totally different drive since tweaking his bowling motion. In different phrases, we are actually seeing a ‘new’ Sikandar Raza.

In the meantime, it needs to be famous that Raza has spectacular data towards the highest cricketing nations. He has beforehand scored worldwide centuries towards all of India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh while additionally chipping in with helpful wickets. His performances, notably of late, have additionally led to his star shining ever brighter on the worldwide stage. That is demonstrated with him being named within the staff of the match on the not too long ago ended 2022 ICC T20 World Cup, together with incomes a profitable first-time IPL contract with the Punjab Kings for the 2023 season. Within the course of, he has develop into simply the 4th Zimbabwean participant ever to be signed by an IPL franchise.  

I hereby argue, consequently, that Sikandar Raza is kind of presumably most underrated cricketer on the earth. Do you agree? Let me know within the feedback under.

Sulaiman Karodia  


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