2021 - Sikandar Raza

Zimbabwean international credits university for cricket career

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 12:14:00 BST
Sikandar Raza
Sikandar Raza

Sikandar Raza is used to shouting “Howzat?” to umpires on the cricket field, but it was also a question he would regularly ask his tutors when handing in his coursework.

The Pakistan-born Zimbabwean is better known to the world these days as an international cricketer for his adopted nation, but it is perhaps not as well known that he studied for a BSc in Software Engineering at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The 35-year-old batting all-rounder returned to campus today for the first time since he graduated in 2009.

“It feels great to be back,” he said. “It’s an extremely humbling experience. GCU provided me with a facility where I could achieve something in my life. I truly made the right choice in coming here.”

It wasn’t a straightforward career path, however. Raza originally studied at the Pakistan Air Force for three years and aspired to be a pilot, but failed the vision test that was mandatory for selection. In 2002, Raza then moved with his family to Zimbabwe, before he came to Glasgow to study at GCU. It was here he realised his cricketing potential.

“I wasn’t thinking about being a professional sportsperson when I came to GCU. I wanted to be a software engineer. Education was the top priority in both mine and my family’s life. I wanted to be in a position where I could show and lead our generation that education can play a huge role in our lives.

“So, my true reason for being in Glasgow was education and cricket started as a recreational thing for me. One of my classmate’s brothers played club cricket in the city and she introduced me to him. It went from there, really. I played for Weirs Cricket Club and Renfrew. I found I was good at the sport and got noticed. I was able to play first-class cricket domestically in Zimbabwe and I returned to Scotland to play as a professional at Prestwick and then Ayr.

“This led to my international call-up in 2013. I went to the Academy, the A team and then the full international team.”

Raza has gone on to play Test, ODI and T20 cricket for Zimbabwe – racking up more than 3,000 runs at ODI level.

GCU and Cricket Scotland have been working together on community engagement activities in Glasgow for a number of years, building a strong relationship between the two organisations.

They recently extended their partnership to provide an innovative psychology support programme for up-and-coming cricket talent.

Two GCU DPsych Sport and Exercise Psychology students have been selected to work with Cricket Scotland’s boys’ and girls’ performance pathways to provide sports psychology support to the young cricketers starting out on their sporting careers.