By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE cricket allrounder Sikandar Raza has joined English side Shelley Cricket Club fueling speculation that his move could signal the end of international cricket career with the senior national team.
Raza, 31, who was part of the Matabeleland Tuskers side currently competing in the ongoing Pro50 Championship, arrived in England on Friday, with his new club confirming his signing
“We are delighted to announce our new signing Sikandar Raza has arrived. Sikandar brings a wealth of talent and experience to Shelley having represented Zimbabwe in all three formats, including 10 tests & 85 ODIs.
“Welcome to Shelley Sikandar and good luck for the season,” the club said in a statement.
Shelley Cricket Club competes in the Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League, the premier cricket competition in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England.
The league has been in existence since 1891 and now has 44 clubs representing suburbs of Huddersfield and villages in the Huddersfield District area and surrounds.
Raza’s decision to play for the English club comes at a time when national team players, who are owed salaries, allowances, match fees and bonuses, threatened to boycott the home tri-series with Australia and Pakistan in July if they are not paid.
While it remains unclear whether Raza will remain available for the national team, the Pakistan-born Zimbabwe international recently told NewZimbabwe.com that he was considering his future amid fears of fresh financial problems for ZC in the wake of the national team’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
The local cricket governing body which is saddled by a debt of around $19 million has been struggling to pay players and members of staff on time due to financial constraints.
The 2019 World Cup will be the first time that Zimbabwe will not participate in a World Cup since 1979.
As an Associate nation, Zimbabwe qualified for the World Cup in 1983, 1987 and 1992 by winning the respective ICC Trophy tournaments for Associate countries that preceded each of those World Cups.
After being elevated to Test status, Zimbabwe received automatic entry to the following six World Cups beginning in 1996 through 2015.