This win will take away some of the pain: Sikandar Raza
Zimbabwe allrounder Sikandar Raza. (Getty Image)

Sikandar Raza has undergone so many emotions in the last three months. In August, he lost his central contract amid a dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket, and missed the ODIs against South Africa last month. The issues were however resolved, and Raza was named in the squads that travelled to Bangladesh for ODIs and Tests.

Eight months removed from the heartbreak of not qualifying for the World Cup, Zimbabwe received a fresh lease of lease on Tuesday, when they notched up a comprehensive 151-run win against Bangladesh on their soil. This was their first Test win in five years, and one that Raza had a big hand in orchestrating. The allrounder was clinical with the ball, picking up 3 for 41 and 3 for 35 in both innings that troubled the Bangladesh batsmen. The last time Zimbabwe won a Test, in 2013 against, Raza was part of that side too, but in a different capacity. Hence, the victory is all the sweeter for the 32-year-old allrounder.

“This is the first Test win in my career,” Raza told ESPNcricinfo. “I was the 12th man in the Test win over Pakistan in 2013. It is a humbling and exciting time, considering Zimbabwe last played a Test almost a year ago. We haven’t had much cricket after that anyway. The feeling is still sinking in.

“All the physical pain that came from batting, bowling and fielding has gone away, because we won. Hopefully we can carry on winning at home and away and keep up this momentum. This is a sweeter Test win, and to do that in Bangladesh where most of the other teams haven’t been able to do it, is quite a happy and exciting feeling to be honest.”

And to think that this win comes at a time when Zimbabwe cricket was perhaps at its lowest. The downfall began in March, when Zimbabwe couldn’t qualify for the World Cup. They were since been blanked 0-5 by Pakistan in ODIs, 0-3 by South Africa and 0-3 against Bangladesh last month. There is plenty of work to be done, especially in the limited-overs format and Zimbabwe would be aware of that. But the win promises to take away some of the pain, at least for the time being.

“The nightmares of not qualifying for the World Cup are still fresh in our memories, and also in our fans,” he said. “A bit of the pain probably will go away. But all of it won’t go away. I know that I will be playing with that pain for the rest of my career.

“The magnitude of what we lost and how well we were playing, that pain will always be there for me. But I was picked for this tour along with other senior cricketers so that we can help Zimbabwe win more games. The pain will definitely fade away as we win more matches at home and away.”