Former UAE captain Ahmed Raza retires from international cricket

Former UAE captain Ahmed Raza, 34, has announced his retirement from international cricket. Raza is UAE’s most successful captain in the shortest format, with the team winning 18 of its 27 T20Is under him. UAE also secured a place at the 2022 T20 World Cup under his leadership, which he stated was “a significant achievement of mine.”

He is now set to take up a new role as UAE’s assistant coach.

“It is with great pride that I’m announcing my retirement from all forms of cricket,” Raza wrote on social media. “After much thought, I believe this is the right time to step away from the game that has given me so much love and respect over the last 17 years.

“Representing and leading my country in the great sport of cricket has been one of the greatest honors of mine. I must thank the Board, my colleagues, coaches, selectors and most importantly my late father, who supported and enabled me to live my dream to the fullest. Also, my mother, my siblings and my friends who were there through it all. Lastly and most importantly to my wife, Mehreen, who has been my biggest support system over the last few years.

“It’s hard to pinpoint a moment over the course of 17 years, however, leading the UAE to the T20 World Cup will always be a significant achievement of mine.

“Whilst there are many that supported me throughout my career – I would like to say a special thank you to Aqib Javed, who contributed greatly to my success and turned a rookie into a thorough professional.

“I am looking forward to what the future holds.”

Raza’s international career began in 2006 when he debuted at age 17 in the EurAsia Cricket Series against an India A side that included the likes of Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja. He made his ICC tournament debut the following year against Scotland in the four-day Intercontinental Cup competition and later went on to represent UAE in 108 games across the ODI and T20I formats. One of the highlights of his career was leading the team to an undefeated run in the 2022 T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Oman. It came just under years after one of the most tumultuous periods in UAE Cricket history when he was thrust into the captaincy on the eve of the same T20 World Cup Qualifiers in 2019 where Mohammad Naveed, Shaiman Anwar, and Qadeer Ahmed were suspended for match-fixing just days before the start of the competition. Naveed immediately stood down as captain following the corruption scandal.
In August last year, CP Rizwan replaced the left-arm spinner Raza as UAE captain in T20Is with the board deciding to appoint captains with “sole-format focus”. However, Rizwan subsequently was named ODI captain soon after to take over from Raza in that format as well.

In the 53 ODIs he played, Raza took 64 wickets and scored 409 runs; in 55 T20Is, he accounted for 37 wickets.

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