Why BPL 2023's sensation Azmat Omarzai didn't get opportunities for Afghanistan; Umar Gul explains
Afghanistan's young speedster Azmat Omarzai has lit-up the scene at the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Playing for Rangpur Riders, the right-arm quick has been sensational for his ability to generate late movement at high speeds, consistently clocking it above 140 kmph.
Not only the speed, but the control and the consistency on display have been impressive. The 22-year-old has taken 10 wickets in his seven matches for the Riders, while retaining an acceptable ER of 7.79. His performances have left a mark on the field and raised a pertinent question around his international career.
Why despite such obvious talent and promise, in a spin-dominated country like Afghanistan, has Azmat Omarzai not managed to become a prominent figure in Afghanistan's plans? The country's bowling mentor and former Pakistan pace stalwart Umar Gul tried to explain the case.
Gul also came up with an interesting revelation about his communication with Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi around the usage of Omarzai, as the bowler has hardly gotten the chance to deliver frequent and sizeable spells, which would enable his development and overall growth as a young fast-bowler.
Gul reveals Nabi's lack of trust on Azmat Omarzai
"Azmatullah Omarzai can become a great all rounder but it's important to have faith in him and give him proper opportunities. I tried a lot from my side so that he could play every T20I game and bowl 3 if not 4 overs," Gul told Afghanistan-based 'Radio Azadi'.
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"He's very talented. If you look at his bowling speed, he can bowl upto 140kph. Unfortunately, for as long as I was with the team, he would play in matches but the captain would not complete his bowling quota. As I've said before, a captain's trust is very important," he added.
@mdk_gul interview with Radio Azadi in early January:— Ahmad (@AhmdzkAFG) January 30, 2023
"Azmatullah Omarzai can become a great all rounder but it's important to have faith in him and give him proper opportunities. I tried a lot from my side so that he could play every T20I game and bowl 3 if not 4 overs."
1/3 https://t.co/NJVO0nYC3B pic.twitter.com/tYJ5Copz5S
It raises doubts on Gul's true influence on the proceedings for Afghanistan, with all the calls seemingly taken by the on-field skipper, previously Nabi in both the white-ball formats and now spin-king Rashid Khan in T20Is.
The lack of trust reflects in Omarzai's numbers, wherein he has delivered less than six overs on average in ODIs and fewer than three overs in T20Is across his sporadically-played 7 ODIs and 16 T20Is for Afghanistan.
Azmatullah Omarzai 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/bE7DEJJF2y— Rangpur Riders (@Joyerlorai) January 28, 2023
"I shared this with Nabi many times," Gul added. "This is because when you trust and give your players more opportunity they can improve and become a complete player. Unfortunately, although Azmat played matches, he didn't get any decent opportunity with either bat or ball."