PERTHE: Sikandar Raza failed a test for the Pakistan Air Force but was flying high on Thursday after playing a pivotal role in Zimbabwe’s shock Twenty20 World Cup win over his homeland.
The versatile 36-year-old was born in Pakistan and had wanted to be a pilot, but was rejected and his family later emigrated to Zimbabwe.
He continued his higher education in Scotland.

But cricket was his calling and he played national cricket in Zimbabwe before making the national team in 2013.
Raza said he learned the game the hard way.
“I learned cricket late and maybe made up for lost time,” he said.

The same is true for his adopted country.
“For Zimbabweans, most of the learning is done on the job,” added the mild-mannered Raza.
“We don’t play a lot against the top nations, we don’t play a lot in the spotlight. It was my first game in Perth.”
Raza was in fine form with the bat and became a hero with the ball in Perth to return numbers of 3-25 as his Zimbabwe side edged Pakistan by one point in a World Cup thriller.
Zimbabwe slipped to third in a group led by India and put Pakistan in danger of an early exit.
Raza said afterwards that the praise of Australian great Ricky Ponting inspired him to perform on the biggest stage of all.
Former Australia captain Ponting had praised Zimbabwe and picked Raza in a recent clip released by the International Cricket Council.
“He’s 36 but he’s playing with a younger exuberance now. He looks like he’s still 26, running around the court, having fun and leading from the front,” Ponting said.
Raza said it was a huge confidence boost.
“When I woke up (this morning) my friend texted me and said, ‘Did you see a clip on ICC?’ and it was Ricky Ponting talking about Zimbabwe and me,” Raza told reporters.
“Some of my friends and family messaged and said they had tears in their eyes for me. particular of me.
“It’s not that I needed the extra kick, but if I needed it, this clip did the job for me.
“I wanted to stay calm but at the same time be pumped up for this game.”



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