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Abu Dhabi T10: Chennai captain Raza calls UAE 'home away from home'

Sikandar Raza, left, has hailed Abu Dhabi fans for their involvement in the T10 tournament
28 Oct 2023 01:00

Abu Dhabi (Aletihad)

For Pakistan-born Zimbabwean all-rounder Sikandar Raza, the upcoming seventh edition of Abu Dhabi T10 is another chance to play his favourite sport at his ‘home away from home’. Raza has been a part of cricket’s fastest format for the past few years and has garnered massive popularity among local fans. Last season, the right-handed batter was also named captain of the Chennai Braves, a position he has retained.

"UAE feels like my home away from home,” Raza said, ahead of Abu Dhabi T10 2023 which will begin on November 28th. “I get a lot of love and respect in this part of the world. I have made a lot of good friends who have become my family. We often spend time together and remain in touch, and hence, I really enjoy my time in this city.”

Raza, who was one of the key players for the Chennai Braves in the 2022-23 season, represented the team at the 2023 Players’ Draft earlier this month and helped his side make strategic picks for the coming season. The Chennai Braves bolstered their bowling attack on the draft day, adding England pacer Sam Cook and veteran South Africa spinner Imran Tahir among their ranks, along with Hassan Ali, who joined the team as the Asian Super Star.

"I am very excited to be a part of the seventh edition of Abu Dhabi T10 League. This was my first time being part of the draft and it was absolutely nerve-wracking. There is a lot of reading, and researching that goes behind the scenes before the draft. It requires one to stay sharp at all times as a lot of things keep changing on the spot. I am really looking forward to the next season."

After thrilling fans for several years with exciting cricketing action in Abu Dhabi, the T10 format became global in 2023, travelling across the USA, and Zimbabwe, and will also be on its way to Sri Lanka in December. Raza believes the format has developed tremendously and has now helped players across all other forms of the sport as well.

"T10 is becoming a serious format and it has already gone global this year. Now cricket statisticians are investing in collecting data on the format because it is being viewed as a future of the sport. The T10 format gives a fearless approach across batting, bowling, and fielding. T10 has helped other forms of cricket as well because players are now becoming fearless. It has also added massive quality to the game in terms of speed, quality, and skill of players."

Raza also praised cricket fans in Abu Dhabi and explained how their presence adds to the overall atmosphere during the season and praised Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports Hub for providing the best facilities.

"I think Abu Dhabi has hosted games really well. Whenever the fans come, they make a lot of noise and support their teams. Hats off to the Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports Hub for providing top-draw facilities and amenities of international standards for cricketers. The fans here know their cricket so well and their feedback is very useful for us,” he said.


Chennai Braves:

Draft Signings: Sam Cook (Cat B), Imran Tahir (Cat B), George Munsey (Cat C), Kobe Herft (Cat C), Richard Ngarava (Cat C), Junaid Siddique (UAE-RES), Aayan Khan (UAE-RES), Vriitya Aravind (UAE-RES), Kai Smith (Emerging), Stephen Eskinazi (Opt 1)

Retained: Obed McCoy (Cat A), Sikandar Raza (Cat B)

Pre-Signings: Jason Roy (Icon), Charith Asalanka (Platinum), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (Cat A), Hassan Ali (Asian Super Star)

Source: Aletihad - Abu Dhabi
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