Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Afghanistan need role models to inspire youngsters to take up fast bowling - Ahmadzai. ''We have some good fast bowlers who can bowl 135 kmph to 140 kmph, but in cricket you have to find someone bowling at 145 kmph to 150 kmph," Raees Ahmadzai
''We have some good fast bowlers who can bowl 135 kmph to 140 kmph, but in cricket you have to find someone bowling at 145 kmph to 150 kmph," Raees Ahmadzai
Raees Ahmadzai, the junior coach of ACB, observed that lack of role models and unresponsive wickets are the reasons behind Afghanistan not producing enough quick bowlers.
Incidentally, Afghanistan has turned out to be a hub for producing spinners. Quite a few of them have played for Afghanistan as well as plying their trade in various franchise leagues.
Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi have tasted success at higher levels. The likes of Qais Ahmed and Noor Ahmad are following in the trio's footsteps.
”Rashid and Mujeeb are role models. There is Qais and others. For example, take young Noor, and the way he has played in the PSL or Big Bash… so these guys are followed by the younger generation and everyone wants to play in different leagues around the world,” Ahmadzai told Cricbuzz during his visit to Bangladesh with the Under-19 squad recently.
”That is not the case with our fast bowlers (they are yet to turn into role models) and we are not producing fast bowlers because we don't have supporting wickets in Afghanistan.
”We have some good fast bowlers who can bowl 135 kmph to 140 kmph, but in cricket you have to find someone bowling at 145 kmph to 150 kmph. Somehow we are unable to produce those kind of fast bowlers despite we having the physique,” he added.
Ahmadzai, who has represented Afghanistan at the highest level, has been serving ACB in different roles since retirement and is touted as one of the finest scouts in the country. He gave various examples of how he scouted talented players coming through the ranks.
”Take Mujeeb for example. I was a head coach in a local tournament in Khost. I saw a skinny guy bowling with the old ball and doing this and that. Then I asked him ‘can you bowl with the new ball'? and he said ‘yes'. Nawroz (Mangal) was the captain and he (Mujeeb) bowled five or six balls in the right areas. He did not spin or bowl any mystery ball, but he bowled in the right areas and had control. I told Nawroz let's pick him. I was the coach of the national side when he played his first ODI.
Ahmadzai scouted Mujeeb at a local tournament in Khost
”The same case was with Rahmanullah Gurbaz. He played some junior tournament at the Under-16 level and I asked him ‘why are you not going to Jalalabad for the Under-16 trial'? He told me ‘can I go'? and I said, ‘yes, you should go'. I was the selector and I called and asked few members and told them I am sending this guy and you check him and that is how it went. He played there and in a short time was picked in the national side. It is not a risk… I feel if someone has the talent, I always back him.”
Ahmadzai added that social media is playing a huge role in developing Afghanistan cricket, considering that it does not take long for a promising player to get noticed on the social media platform.
”In different regions, cricket is very famous on the social media and whenever someone is doing special in Jalalabad, Khost or other parts of the country, automatically it comes in the social media. Then we know about him and we say look let's go and see.
”This is my job. I love to see and go to different places as a coach or a scout to find some talented guys playing for Afghanistan. I saw our struggle trying to make a mark as a cricketing nation and I think it should give me more energy.
”I am in Jalalabad and I see something special in someone, then I can drive with my music on and go to another region. There I can see some different academies and take some notes regarding the budding stars by asking the region manager and from there onwards we move on and plan our next course of action. I must admit the social media is helping me a lot and it has made my life very easy.,” he added.
Ahmadzai admitted that for him the biggest challenge is to change the mindset of young cricketers as most of them prefer the shortest format of the game. ”For a youngster, everyone wants to play in different leagues and I think this is not good for world cricket and the other problem is that we are playing most of the local leagues in T20 formats.
”But after this tour, the players will understand that if you want to represent the country, you have to be mentally ready to be a good Test cricketer because Test cricket will give you lot of confidence and you can be a good ODI or T20 cricketer if you are a good Test cricketer.
”After this series everyone came to me and said that we have to work very hard to get that temperament of playing 50 overs and longer version games. It was their first tour and they learnt a lot,” he signed off.