Punjab Kings’ star all-rounder Sikandar Raza has said that his new franchise has a very good squad in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The 36-year-old has further stated that the Kings play for the badge and the players always back each other in their bid to clinch the coveted IPL title this year.

“I feel like we have got a very good squad, reasons being we play for one another, we play for the badge. We’re happy for each other's success. So, I guess these are small things that go a long way in winning the tournament, or doing well in the tournament,” Raza said.

Raza became just the third Zimbabwean cricketer to feature in the IPL after Tatenda Taibu and Ray Price. The Pakistani-born Zimbabwean international cricketer recently made his IPL debut against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on April 1.

Punjab Kings had roped in Raza at the IPL 2023 mini-auction for his base price of INR 50 lakh.

“Unbelievable. I mean you can’t tell that it’s only been 4-5 days I’ve been part of this family. This is how unbelievable it is. I mean I couldn’t have been any happier. Hopefully, I do well, and repay the faith the franchise has put in me,” Raza said after joining the Kings’ set-up. 

The accomplished all-rounder also shared his experience of watching the IPL auction while he was picked by the PBKS franchise.

“I was watching the auction, yeah. I was in Nepal, and I was moving from one room to another, and the internet sort of was switching from the conference room to the team room, and that’s when I was picked. So, I didn’t even know that I was picked until I got to the team room, and everyone was hugging me, and my phone started to ring. Initially, I cancelled a few calls. I was like, I’m watching the auction, but the phone kept ringing. I took one important call, which was a friend of mine, who is an analyst of one of the IPL franchises. And he said congratulations, Punjab has picked you,” he added. 

Raza has also revealed that he is very close to his PBKS teammate Bhanuka Rajapaksa, and that he has also made some new friends in the team.

“ I've always been close to Bhanuka Rajapaksa because this is the fifth time we’re part of the same franchise. So, I’m very close to Bhanu in that way. But I’ve made friends with Atharva Taide, Jitesh Sharma, Arshdeep Singh and Harpeet Brar.”

Raza has been an integral member of the Zimbabwean side since making his international debut in 2013. The veteran cricketer has scored over 3,000 runs in T20 cricket, including 20 fifties. He is also a handy bowler capable of bowling both spin and seam-up.