Raza stopped enjoying life after Zimbabwe failed to qualify for CWC 2019
Zimbabwe allrounder Sikandar Raza has admitted feeling that he had lost his mental strength after the World Cup Qualifying tournament ended in heartache.
Raza was named player of the tournament but nonetheless experienced a backlash from the Zimbabwe Cricket Board along with the core of the side and the coaching staff and convenor of selectors who were sacked.
The allrounder credits Aussie coach Tom Moody with helping him put things in perspective and putting him on the path to enjoying life and cricket again.
Raza told ESPN Cricinfo: “I stopped enjoying life, never mind cricket.
“Basically my mind was in shambles. People don’t know what we went through when we didn’t qualify and how all of us were treated. Things are still pear-shaped, but at least I have got my mental toughness back. I am enjoying cricket and being with my family.
“Most importantly, I have started to enjoy life. I am playing golf with my mates. I had stopped seeing my friends, can you believe that? I wasn’t seeing anyone. It was just me. Just nothing to do: not watching TV or movies. It was just a horrible place to be at. I didn’t share it with anyone at the time. I think my family understood what I was going through. Having read about it, I also suspected that something was wrong.”
Raza played in the Global T20 Canada for the Montreal Tigers where he encountered Moody. The spin-bowling allrounder made himself unavailable for Zimbabwe’s international commitments until players are paid outstanding salaries and match fees.
He had also gone to Canada on a mission to reignite his ‘spark’.
He added: “I told Tom [Moody] that I want to reignite the spark of playing and enjoying cricket again.
“I don’t want to wear the Zimbabwe red without giving my 100 per cent. It is a privilege, not a right. I want to only wear it when I am right 100 per cent mentally, emotionally and physically.”
Raza is unclear on his future at the moment admitting the ball is in Zimbabwe Cricket’s court as he is currently out of contract.
“I don’t know what the future holds for me. I am out of my contract anyway,” he says. “It was supposed to expire on July 31. I had to terminate my contract a month before, as I was not given an NOC. I am hoping there’s some form of communication come July 31, to see if I am wanted by the national team or not. It depends on the contract as well, to see how ZC values me. If they think I add value to the team.
“July 25 is the deadline by when they assured all our dues will be cleared. It is not too far away as well. Once the dues are cleared, I am hoping that myself and ZC can engage in contract negotiation. Hopefully I can commit my future with Zimbabwe. I want to commit for a long-term, but lessons have to be learned from the past and we have to do things properly now.”
Raza says that Zimbabwe Cricket have given him and other leading players the cold shoulder since the end of the qualifying tournament.
“After the World Cup qualifiers, there was no form of communications that came from ZC to the players. There was no surety given to us,” Raza explains. “We were kept in the darkness. It was like a slap on the face, thinking you didn’t qualify so we don’t need you anymore. It was just silence.
“When the chairman did engage us into some form of communication, whatever was promised or committed, it didn’t fall into place again. So how long do we carry on like this? Where do we go now? We have Vince van der Bijl, who was hired as a consultant. He will act as a bridge between players and the organisation. I am hoping he is going to be very useful to bridge those gaps, from both sides. Hopefully, he will rectify every single mistake. But he can only start once the money is cleared.”
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