Sikandar Raza left out of T20 tri-series on disciplinary grounds
Sikandar Raza (AFP Image)

Batsman Sikandar Raza has been left out of Zimbabwe‘s squad for the tri-series on disciplinary grounds. According to a media release by Zimbabwe cricket, Raza was omitted because of pending disciplinary issues raised by captain Hamilton Masakadza.

“It is important that we support our captain, whether it is Masakadza or anyone else, by creating an environment in which we can be confident he will have the full support of all players, with everyone pulling in the same direction and able to trust each other. It is for those reasons that we have decided to leave Raza out,” Zimbabwe convener of selectors, Walter Chawaguta, said.

The tri-series also featuring Bangladesh and Afghanistan will be Masakadza’s last after the batsman announced he will be retiring from international cricket at the end of the tournament on September 24. The opening contest will be played on September 13 between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in Dhaka.

“I was looking forward to the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dubai next month, but with Zimbabwe barred from taking part in the event, I feel that the time is right for the focus to shift to the next generation,” Masakadza said.

“We have some fantastic talent coming through and, with Zimbabwe’s focus now on the 2023 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup, I believe now is the time for the younger players to rise to the challenge of taking us to the global showpiece.”

Experienced players like Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams and Christopher Mpofu for the triangular series and as have youngsters like Tony Munyonga, Ainsley Ndlovu, Ryan Burl, Tinotenda Mutombodzi and Neville Madziva.

With Zimbabwe making a move towards the next generation, their coach Lalchand Rajput believes building a fresh team is the way forward for Zimbabwe cricket.

“We are now shifting our focus to rebuilding a new team and to do that we must gradually blood in younger players and create a new culture that encourages unity, hard work, professionalism and excellence,” Rajput said.

“We will not make wholesale changes, as we definitely still need some of the experienced players to help the new generation find their feet in international cricket. It is important that we still field a competitive side – that is why we have a good mix of youth and experience in the team that has been selected for the Bangladesh tour.”