The Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe’S Sikandar Raza Butt is set to earn at least US$10 000 from his two-week adventure in the Shpageeza Cricket League T20 tournament in Afghanistan, but the all-rounder insists it’s not about the money.
The second edition of Afghanistan’s premier T20 competition runs from September 11-22, featuring 11 Zimbabwean players.
Hamilton Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura, Chris Mpofu, Luke Jongwe, Ryan Burl, Solomon Mire, Richard Ngarava, Richmond Mutumbami, Tendai Chatara and Vusi Sibanda are also in the Asian country.
A number of international players pulled out of the tourney citing security concerns and those who have decided to take the plunge have been accused of following the money.
However, Raza shoots down such suggestions. “Look, we have been sitting at home for two months. There is Holland coming (end of September) for three one-day games and there is Pakistan A for two four-day games; and then there is West Indies for two Test matches,” noted the 31-year-old Chevrons player.
“Individually, I don’t think I would be able to do well without any cricket. There is so much time I can spend in the nets hitting balls. The thing is I need to go out there play some games. Afghanistan has given me an opportunity and I am happy to take it.”
Raza, who left Harare on Thursday evening and will do duty for Mis Ainak Knights, added that he would not have flown to Afghanistan if there was a hint that his life would be in danger.
“They emailed me their security plan, when there was a little bit of an incident when Pakistan and Afghanistan were having a dialogue. There was a bit of a problem and everything was put on hold to make sure the security things are in place. Now everything is place and I never had second thoughts to go I was pretty keen to go.”
Raza will be making a second appearance in the Shpageeza tournament and would love to see his fellow Zimbabweans shining.
“I am wishing that the leading scorer and wicket-taker will be from Zimbabwe. I think it will send a strong message. It will raise the profile of the country and of individuals as well. One of my targets is to be up there as well,” he said.