London: After the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to suspend Zimbabwe Cricket with immediate effect, cricketer Sikandar Raza said that the whole team is pretty heartbroken and shocked at the moment.
"We are all pretty heart-broken at the moment. We are still in shock, to be honest, seeing how our international career can come to an end like that. Not just for one player, but for the whole country. I am not coming to terms with it so easily, and I am sure my team-mates feel the same way. Where do we go from here? Is there a way out," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Raza as saying on Friday.
"I don't know what is the way out. We have been told that we have been suspended but not told for how long. A two-year suspension could basically bring an end to a lot of careers. I don't know the conditions but to totally suspend us from playing cricket, while you allow whoever is responsible to get our house in order, you basically stop cricket in Zimbabwe. I don't know how one can do that but it has happened to us now," he added.
The ICC on Thursday suspended Zimbabwe Cricket with immediate effect for failing to fulfil their obligation of ensuring that there is no government interference in its administration.
ICC's chairman Shashank Manohar had said that what happened in Zimbabwe is a 'serious breach' of the ICC Constitution.
"We do not take the decision to suspend a member lightly, but we must keep our sport free from political interference. What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC Constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked. The ICC wants cricket to continue in Zimbabwe in accordance with the ICC Constitution," Manohar had said.
Zimbabwe Cricket now needs to get their administration in order by the next ICC meeting slated to be held in October this year. Raza said that it may be time for Zimbabwe's players to think about alternative careers.
"If we miss the World T20 qualifiers, we will miss the T20 tri-series in Bangladesh [in September]. What if the house [ZC] is not in order? Is the ICC going to recognise the interim committee or the old committee? What is happening," Raza said.
"I don't know where we go as international cricketers. Is it club cricket or no cricket for us? Do we just burn our kits and apply for jobs? I don't know what we have to do right now," he added.
The 33-year-old Raza added that if the ICC had overseen the Zimbabwe Cricket elections earlier this year, then the apex cricketing body might have quickly recognised why the government's Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) dismissed the board in the first place.
"I genuinely thought that it would have been ideal if one member of the ICC had come and overseen the election process, for the reasons SRC dismissed the board, while we continued to play cricket. I thought that would have been a very good quick fix," Raza said.
During the ICC Annual Conference, the cricketing body announced that concussion replacements will be introduced following successful trials in domestic cricket. The rule will be included in ICC playing conditions from August 1 this year.
Moreover, the punishment for slow over-rate has been changed. According to the new decision, not only the captain but the players will also be held equally responsible and be fined at the same level as the captain.