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Absence of star players in Shpageeza League a blessing in disguise - Ahmadzai

10 Sep 2020 CricBuzz

Raees Ahmadzai, Afghanistan's newly appointed director of cricket, said that missing star players in the ongoing Shpageeza T20 League is a blessing in disguise as it provides an opportunity for youngsters to showcase their talent against the seniors.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board has allowed six of its national players currently participating in the Caribbean Premier League to continue playing in the tournament till its conclusion despite a clash with the local Shpageeza T20 League.

Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Najibullah Zadran and Zahir Khan were the six players who were allowed to extend their stay there in the Caribbean till the end of the CPL following discussions between Cricket West Indies and ACB.

Ahmadzai, who took over the role from Andy Moles, feels that it's an opportunity for the youngsters to prove themselves but added that Rashid and others are following the domestic tournament closely.

''There are some amazing talents and the way young boys are responding to the seniors is quite good to see. They now look to be different players when seniors and juniors are playing together, they look very matured,'' Ahmadzai told Cricbuzz on Thursday (September 10).

"This is a good sign for the future of Afghanistan cricket. There are some very talented cricketers. There is a guy named Bahar Ali and the way he played an innings of 70 odd runs and the way he handled the national fast bowlers, he looks like a very mature player,'' he said.

''Sedeq Atal, the under-19 left-handed opener, is getting better day by day. There are also a few others like under-19 captain Farhan Zakhil and young all-rounder Abdur Rakhman, apart from the young legspinners - Shafi Gaffari and Wasi Noor,'' he said.

''Mohammad Nabi, Rashid and the others know them. We are talking all the time with each other because we are like one family and we are sharing our experiences. They are watching all the matches of Shpageeza on YouTube or on television,'' he said, adding that he was relieved that cricket is back in the region.

While Ahmadzai was quite impressed with the youngsters, the former national skipper was disappointed that some of their stars could not make it to the CPL, and feels that his favourite legspinner Noor Ahmed could have showcased his talent and bagged a few more contracts.

''I am sad for him as he is missing the CPL, because it would not have been easy for West Indian players to pick him up. Noor is ready for CPL, BBL, T20 Blast and all that but if he gets the opportunity to play in the IPL, I am sure he will at some point, he will learn a lot,'' said Ahmadzai.

''Noor Ahmed was my favourite when I saw him two years back as the head coach of the under-19 team. He was my favourite because he was the guy who wanted to learn and try something and he wanted to do something very special for Afghanistan and himself. He was the guy who asked me questions all the time on how to improve his bowling.

''I only told him that he was brilliant at what he was doing and just needed to learn everyday. I told him to just enjoy his game. That thought gave him a lot of confidence because he was a nervous guy. He was a very shy person and now he looks like a mature cricketer,'' he said.

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