HARD-hitting Zimbabwe cricket team batsman Sikandar Raza believes his recent involvement with the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) in Bangladesh, will come in handy at the 2014 ICC World Twenty20.
BY ALBERT MARUFU
The ICC World Twenty20 2014 tournament, which has seen an increase of teams from 12 to 16 and a new format, runs between March 16 and April 6 in Bangladesh.
Raza, together with Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza have been on the books of DPL side, Kalabagan Cricket Academy (KCA), while all-rounder Elton Chigumbura played for SK Jamal DC.
“We have to qualify for the Twenty20 World Cup and I think playing in the country that will be hosting the event has been helpful for us. It has been a great experience especially for me as it offered me my first ever international experience,” said Raza.
Raza said he has also been in Dubai where he watched some of the teams currently playing in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier and concluded that Zimbabwe has what it takes to be with the best.
“I was in Dubai for two weeks and from what I saw, there is nothing that can stop us from progressing to the next stage of the competition. We have the players who can compete with any of those teams,” he said.
Raza said people should not look much into the lack of practice matches for Zimbabwe after the cancellation of the tour by Sri Lanka and the subsequent delay to the start of the domestic season as this has been the case for a long time.
“It is not a secret that we do not have enough practice games, but this is something that we have to get used to. We went to the last World Cup facing the same situation,” he said.
Zimbabwe together with hosts Bangladesh will be joined by top six finishers from the ongoing 2013 ICC WT20 Qualifier in United Arab Emirates in the preliminary round of the Twenty20 cricket’s crowning event.
The 16 teams fighting for the six slots are last year’s winner, Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, Namibia, Uganda, US and the host United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Bermuda, Denmark, Netherlands, Nepal, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Scotland.