THE QUICK BOWLING HUNT
“We have good, fast bowlers who can play 135 km / h to 140 km / h, but in cricket you have to find someone who is playing 145 km / h to 150 km / h”, Raees Ahmadzai © Cricbuzz
ACB junior coach Raees Ahmadzai observed that the lack of role models and unresponsive wickets are the reasons Afghanistan is not producing enough fast bowlers.
Incidentally, Afghanistan turned out to be a hub for the production of spinning mills. Many of them played for Afghanistan and plied their trade in various franchise leagues.
Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi have seen success at higher levels. Personalities like Qais Ahmed and Noor Ahmad follow in the trio’s footsteps.
Rashid and Mujeeb are role models. There are Qais and others. For example, take young Noor, and the way he played in PSL or Big Bash … then 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 team recently.
“That’s not the case with our fast bowlers (they haven’t become role models yet) and we don’t produce fast bowlers because we don’t have support wickets in Afghanistan.
“ We have good, fast bowlers who can play 135 km / h to 140 km / h, but in cricket you have to find someone who plays 145 km / h to 150 km / h. Somehow we are not able to produce these kind of fast bowlers despite our physique, ”he added.
Ahmadzai, who has represented Afghanistan at the highest level, has served ACB in various roles since his retirement and is billed as one of the country’s top scouts. He gave various examples of how he spotted talented players rising through the ranks.
Take Mujeeb for example. I was head coach at 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 bowling with the new ball’? and he said ‘yes’. Nawroz (Mangal) was the captain and he (Mujeeb) threw five or six balls in the correct areas. He didn’t spin or throw a mystery ball, but he played in the right areas and was in control. I told Nawroz we choose him. I was the national team coach when he played his first ODI.
Ahmadzai spotted Mujeeb during a local tournament in Khost ©
The same case was with Rahmanullah Gurbaz. He played a junior tournament at the under 16 level and I asked him ‘why don’t you go to Jalalabad for the under 16 trial’? He said “I can go”? and I said ‘yes you should go’. I was the coach and I called and asked a few members and told them I was sending this guy and you check him out and that’s how it went. He played there and in no time was selected for the national team. It’s not a risk … I feel that if someone is talented, I always support them. ”
Ahmadzai added that social media plays a huge role in the development of Afghan cricket, given that it doesn’t take long for a promising player to stand out on the social media platform.
” In different regions, cricket is very famous on social media and every time someone does something special in Jalalabad, Khost or other parts of the country it automatically happens on social media. Then we know about him and we say look, let’s go see.
”It’s my job. I like to see and go to different places as a coach or scout to find talented guys playing for Afghanistan. I’ve seen our wrestling try to make a mark as a cricket nation and I think that should give me more energy.
“I’m in Jalalabad and I see something special in someone, so I can drive with my music and go to another area. There I can see different academies and take notes regarding the budding stars asking the area manager and from there we move on and plan our next course of action. I have to admit that social networks help me a lot and that they 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 shorter format of the game. ” For a youngster, everyone wants to play in different leagues and i think its not good for world cricket and the other problem is we play most of the local leagues in T20 format.
But after this tour the players will understand that if you want to represent the country you have to be mentally prepared to be a good test cricketer because test cricket will give you a lot of confidence and you can be a good ODI or T20 cricketer if you are a good trial cricketer.
“After that series everyone came to me and told me we had to work really hard to get that temper of playing 50 overs and longer versions. It was their first tour and they learned a lot, ” he concluded.