|Full name||Sikandar Raza Butt|
|Born||24 April 1986|
Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan
|Bowling||Right-arm off break|
|Test debut (cap 85)||3 September 2013 v Pakistan|
|Last Test||10 March 2021 v Afghanistan|
|ODI debut (cap 116)||3 May 2013 v Bangladesh|
|Last ODI||20 July 2021 v Bangladesh|
|ODI shirt no.||24|
|T20I debut (cap 36)||11 May 2013 v Bangladesh|
|Last T20I||25 July 2021 v Bangladesh|
|Domestic team information|
|2009/2011 - 2018||Mashonaland Eagles|
|2010 & 2020-present||Southern Rocks|
|2020||Trinbago Knight Riders|
Source: ESPN Cricinfo, 25 July 2021
Sikandar Raza Butt (Urdu: سکندر رضا; born 24 April 1986) is a Pakistani-born Zimbabwean international cricketer, who plays all formats primarily as a batsman.
Born in Sialkot, Raza emigrated to Zimbabwe in 2002 along with his family. He soon became one of the best batsman in the domestic competition and caught the eye of the Zimbabwe selectors. The only problem was citizenship issues, which was granted in 2011.
Raza was born in Sialkot to a Punjabi speaking parents. He studied at the Pakistan Air Force Public School Lower Topa for three years and aspired to be a Pakistan Air Force pilot, but his dreams were cut short when he failed a vision test mandatory for selection. In 2002, Raza moved with his family to Zimbabwe. He went to Scotland, where he pursued a bachelor's degree in software engineering at the Glasgow Caledonian University. It was here where Raza played semi-professional cricket, realising his potential.
After the revamping of Zimbabwe's domestic structure in 2009, Raza went on to play first-class cricket for the Mashonaland Eagles. He is a successful first-class cricketer, with a top score of 146.
Raza also played List A cricket originally for Northerns but later switched to play for Mashonaland Eagles. He made his List A debut in 2007. He made his Twenty20 debut for the Southern Rocks in 2010 against the Desert Vipers.
Raza turned out to be a T20 specialist, and was the leading run-scorer in the 2010 Stanbic Bank T20 Competition.
In the Metbank Pro40 Championship Final in 2010, Raza scored a brilliant 44 for Southern Rocks as they cruised to the title against Mid West Rhinos. It was his first big performance that caught the selectorial eye. In January 2011, he achieved his career best List-A score of 80 runs.
Raza's performances earned him a place in the preliminary squad for Zimbabwe's 2011 Cricket World Cup campaign, but did not make it to the final 15 man squad. By then, he had another fine performance, at the Masvingo Sports Club, where his opening stand of 161 with Chamu Chibhabha, simply by bludgeoning the Matabeleland Tuskers bowlers, led the foundation for a massive Southern Rocks victory. This made the Zimbabwean selectors select Raza for the training squad for the Australia A and South Africa A tri-series. The only matter, was he did not have citizenship status, which was granted to him in September 2011. By then, he had another remarkable performance, scoring 93 off just 48 balls for Southern Rocks against Matabeleland Tuskers.
Opening the innings with the legendary West Indian Brian Lara and then getting great support from Elton Chigumbura, Raza took on the Matabeleland Tuskers's bowling attack. He then represented a Zimbabwe XI side before the Bangladesh tour to Zimbabwe started. Zimbabwe XI won the two matches.
On 3 June 2018, Raza was selected to play for the Montreal Tigers in the players' draft for the inaugural edition of the Global T20 Canada tournament.
In October 2018, Raza was named in Tshwane Spartans' squad for the first edition of the Mzansi Super League T20 tournament. Later the same month, he was named in the squad for the Chittagong Vikings team, following the draft for the 2018–19 Bangladesh Premier League.
In July 2019, Raza was selected to play for the Amsterdam Knights in the inaugural edition of the Euro T20 Slam cricket tournament. However, the following month the tournament was cancelled. In July 2020, he was named in the Trinbago Knight Riders squad for the 2020 Caribbean Premier League.
In December 2020, Raza was selected to play for the Southern Rocks in the 2020–21 Logan Cup.
Raza made his ODI debut for Zimbabwe in May 2013 against Bangladesh and scored 3 runs batting at no. 3, thus becoming the 116th player to appear for Zimbabwe in the format.
Raza scored 82 off 112 balls with 6 fours and two sixes against India in his 4th ODI only. He scored 60 runs on his debut against Pakistan at Harare Sports Club, in which he had a 127-run partnership for the fourth wicket that put the hosts on course for the lead. Despite scoring a half-century on his Test debut on 3 September 2013, he was dropped from the team when Zimbabwean captain Brendan Taylor returned to the team. He has also represented Zimbabwe in Cricket World Cup 2015. His World Cup performance was not great, but he impressed many by his Bowling. Raza made 100* off 84 balls against Pakistan in May 2015 at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.
Raza made his T20I debut on 5 November 2013 against Bangladesh. He is also the youngest person to hit a fifty in T20I. He achieved this feat when he was just above 17 years old.
Raza was named stand-in captain in the second T20I during the India tour of Zimbabwe in 2015. Before this, he captained four times for Mash Eagles in domestic cricket in 2012. He led Zimbabwe in their first win of the tour by 10 runs.
In 2014, Raza, along with Hamilton Masakadza, set the highest partnership for any wicket for Zimbabwe in One Day International cricket(224 for the first wicket) In fact this is the highest ever opening run stand for Zimbabwe in ODIs. Also he jointly with Tendai Chisoro set the highest record 9th wicket partnership for Zimbabwe in ODI cricket During the second match against New Zealand in 2015 he scored his third century 100* on 95 deliveries.
The highlight of Raza's match-winning ability was came during the Zimbabwe tour to Sri Lanka in 2017. He guided Zimbabwe to win the final ODI to seal the series 3–2, their first ever series win against Sri Lanka. It was their first away series win since 2009 and the first away series win against a Test nation since defeating Bangladesh in 2001. It was also Zimbabwe's first win in a five-match series away from home. Raza won the man of the match award for his match winning knock in the final ODI.
In the same tour, Raza scored his maiden Test century, guiding Zimbabwe to post a huge task to chase for the hosts. Despite his performances, Sri Lanka chased 389 runs and won the one-off test, by recording the highest chase in Asian soil.
During the second test against West Indies, Raza took his maiden Test five-wicket haul in the second innings. Apart from fifer, Raza also scored two fifties and became only the second Test cricketer to score 80 plus in both innings and take a five-wicket haul after Proteas Jacques Kallis. Due to his all-round performances, Zimbabwe able to draw the match, and earned him man of the match as well. This draw, gave Zimbabweans, their first draw in 12 years, and the first time they avoid a loss since 2013 in 10 Tests.
In February 2018, the International Cricket Council (ICC) named Raza as one of the ten players to watch ahead of the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier tournament. He was awarded the Player of The Tournament award for his 319 runs and 15 wickets during the Cricket World Cup Qualifiers though Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
In January 2020, in the second Test against Sri Lanka, Raza took the second-best bowling figures in an innings for a Zimbabwe bowler in Test cricket, with 7 for 113 from 43 overs. On 6 March 2020, in the third match against Bangladesh, Raza played in his 100th ODI match.