DAWLAT AHMADZAI: AFGHAN ORIGINAL

 

When I was young my father and uncles used to ask me what I wanted to become. At times I used to say I wanted to become a good doctor at first but I had no idea I would become a cricketer.

Right from the start I was always a bowler. From outside the camp, boys came from Peshawar and played with us and I used to join them. We played with a rubber ball. There weren’t many other sports other than volleyball. We also used to have something like shot-put which we called ‘heavy rock’.

My elder brother Hazratul brought a TV from Peshawar to my village. It was the first TV in the entire village at that time but some people weren’t happy about this. They said things like we were not supposed to watch TV. When I watched cricket on TV, nothing else mattered.

In 1996, when Sri Lanka won the World Cup, we came to Peshawar. It was filled with people playing cricket and at that time there was a famous cricket team called Nazrat cricket team. They were winning all the tournaments in different areas. Firstly they told me to just learn cricket when I was with them and after six months I became a fast bowler in their team. We won a lot of tournaments.

I really liked Waqar Younis. I really like his bowling action and actually learnt a lot from him. It is a pretty good feeling to see him watching me play in the World Cup (as Afghanistan were playing India Pakistan and their coach Waqar Younis were at the ground preparing for their match against Bangladesh).

At the 2006 ACC Trophy in Malaysia

In 2001 I was a teacher at a computer course. The course was run by the cousin of Allah Dad Noori and he came to the course and he was discussing Afghanistan cricket with his cousin. That is when I told him I too was a cricketer. The ICC and ACC wanted a letter from the new Afghanistan government (following liberation from Russia and the end of civil war) and I said I could help as I knew good English. So I went with him to Kabul. Just before we decided to go to Kabul, he had announced the trials for the Afghanistan team in Peshawar. A lot of people came there and he selected 25 players. After that we went to Kabul and Allah Dad Noori and Daulat Jaji who was a selector at that time, told me that I was a good bowler.

The players then were more or less the same as now. Karim was always trying to hit the ball and always thinking about big sixes and Raees was also a big hitter back then.

Many times they hit me for 6, many times I got them out. Then we decided to make a tournament in Kabul. I had done a lot of work in the ground. A lot of players came from different provinces. Logar, my team, lost the final of that tournament and the province of Parwan won the tournament.

At the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2009 in South Africa

At that time we had no idea Afghanistan could play international cricket When Allah Dad Noori told us that we have a tour to Pakistan playing a Grade 2 cricket tournament there were 26 boys and our coach was Naeem Ahmed. I asked him ‘what do you think our future is in cricket?’. He told me if you have a future in cricket, it will bring you to almost every country and he said to respect cricket, everything in it, from shoes to helmet. And to eat less at lunch! He also said you can play in the World Cup and ODIs if you worked hard. The team never thought of it that way, that people would see us on TV. We just played cricket. We respect his words very much now and understand what he was saying.

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