WITH 20 slots for overseas cricketers up for grabs at IPL 2019 auctions, Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza reckons his consistent performances over the last few years might find him a bidder.
Since the Indian Premier League (IPL) is arguably the most popular T20 tournament in the world, it’s nothing less than a dream for any cricketer to represent one of the franchises in the league – in a tournament which has achieved enormous success over the years.
On December 18, lives of a few cricketers can change forever as the IPL 2019 auctions are all set to be held in Jaipur. Out of the 80 available slots, eight franchises will once again pick from 346 cricketers who are in the pool. With a maximum of 20 slots available for overseas players, one cricketer who is hopeful of finding a bidder is Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza.
Since Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the World Cup, chances of Raza finding a bidder at the auctions aren’t slim. In an exclusive chat with timesnownews.com, Raza, who has represented Zimbabwe in 12 Tests, 88 ODIs and 28 T20Is, said that he was hopeful that his consistent performances with the bat and the ball over the last few years wouldn’t go unnoticed.
Considering that most of the teams will rest their key players for IPL 2019 with the World Cup 2019 starting in May end, do you think you can land up a contract at IPL 2019 auctions?
I am an optimistic and realistic person. I like to hope. The beauty of our sport is you never know who is watching you. I have been a consistent performer in the last two to three years – where I have managed to score runs as well as take wickets. I hope someone was watching it and someone can bid for me at the auctions. I am a huge believer of what will be, will be.
The Indian Premier League is one of the biggest leagues in the world. What would it mean to you if you land up a contract in the IPL?
That would be great. That would be humbling, an honour. I have a feeling that getting a bidder in IPL could be beyond words to explain. Without a doubt, it’s the biggest T20 tournament in the world. What would benefit me is the exposure I will get by playing in the tournament. I can use the experience of playing in the tournament to win games for my country. My career would get better by playing in the IPL. The experience which I will get by playing in the IPL, I can bring back home and share with my mates as well.
Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the World Cup next year. How disappointing is it since you guys do not get the opportunity to lock horns with big countries frequently?
It is still painful every time this question pops up. This question haunts me, to be honest. Every team that qualified for the World Cup was guaranteed to play 9 matches. We didn’t qualify because of 3 runs. But we have got India coming to Zimbabwe next year in March (Zimbabwe is coming to India). We don’t get to play them often, so we hope to play good against them which can raise a few eyebrows and set an example for other countries.