Zimbabwe Cricket suspended: Where do we go from here? Is there a way out? – Sikandar Raza
Sikandar Raza: "Where do we go from here? Is there a way out?" © Getty

The ICC’s suspension of Zimbabwe for failing to ensure there is no government interference in its running of the sport has left the country’s cricket team shattered and in a state of confusion over their sporting careers, according to the allrounder Sikandar Raza.

The ICC took the decision to suspend Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) on Thursday for not adhering to principles of good governance along with the issue of granting No-Objection Certificates to non-contracted players with regards to private T20 leagues. The ICC has also withdrawn funding for ZC and the Zimbabwean cricket team will be barred from participating at ICC events, such as the T20 World Cup qualifier in October.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Raza rued the governing body’s decision and the fact that it did not allow Zimbabwe’s cricketers to continue playing the sport.

“We are all pretty heart-broken at the moment,” said the 33-year-old. “We are still in shock to be honest, seeing how our international career can come to an end like that. Not just for one player, but for the whole country. I am not coming to terms with it so easily, and I am sure my team-mates feel the same way. Where do we go from here? Is there a way out?

“I don’t know what is the way out. We have been told that we have been suspended but not told for how long. [A] two-year [suspension] could basically bring an end to a lot of careers. I don’t know the conditions but to totally suspend us from playing cricket, while you allow whoever is responsible to get our house in order, you basically stop cricket in Zimbabwe. I don’t know how one can do that but it has happened to us now.”

Zimbabwe cricket team suspended
Zimbabwe will no longer receive ICC funding. (Image: Twitter/Zimbabwe Cricket)

The ICC’s decision to suspend ZC means that the men’s and women’s team are now unlikely to participate in the respective T20 World Cup Qualifiers in August and October. The men’s team is also due to play a tri-series in Bangladesh in September.

In his interview with ESPNcricinfo, Raza expressed fear over the players’ futures and wondered what alternate careers they could secure.

“If we miss the World T20 qualifiers, we will miss the T20 tri-series in Bangladesh [in September],” he said. “What if the house [ZC] is not in order? Is the ICC going to recognise the interim committee or the old committee? What is happening?

“I don’t know where we go as international cricketers. Is it club cricket or no cricket for us? Do we just burn our kits and apply for jobs? I don’t know what we have to do right now.”

Raza, who has played 97 ODIs, 32 T20Is and 12 Tests for Zimbabwe, was of the opinion that the ICC could have directly overseen ZC’s elections last month if there were concerns over government interference.

“I genuinely thought that it would have been ideal if one member of the ICC had come and overseen the election process, for the reasons SRC dismissed the board, while we continued to play cricket. I thought that would have been a very good quick fix,” he said.