“IPL 2024 will help me,” Azmatullah Omarzai on T20 World Cup Preparations

Azmatullah Omarzai

The Afghanistan all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai has observed that playing in IPL 2024 will help him to prepare for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2024.

Azmatullah Omarzai on T20 World Cup preparations

Azmatullah Omarzai feels that being part of Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2024 will help him prepare for the marquee tournament which is scheduled to be played in the USA and West Indies in June 2024.

Amarzatullah Omarzai is set to make his IPL debut with Gujarat Titans. He was bought by the franchise for the price of INR 50 Lakhs during the IPL 2024 auction.

“Certainly it (taking part in the IPL) will help me for the World Cup. IPL is a top league and all the big players of the world take part in the competition and all of them are very experienced so it will be good for me that I will have the experience for the World Cup,” told Omarzai.

“I will have preparation (for the World Cup) considering it is such a tournament that all the games are close and there is a lot of pressure involved and a lot of crowds come.”

“The environment is good and competitive. It will be good for me as the pressure that will come in the World Cup I will get used to in the IPL,” he said.

“The plan is simple (for IPL) and it is same for all. Everywhere I go I have to work hard and believe in my skill whether it is IPL or BPL or any kind of cricket.”

“My motto is very simple and that is just believe in your skill and work hard and Insha’Allah as I am practicing and doing hard work as well as playing matches, I will be carrying a good mindset going into the IPL,” he said.

He was part of the Bangladesh Premier League 2024 and plays for Rangpur Riders. He thinks that the league holds a special place in his life, considering he got a promotion in the batting order in the last edition of BPL.

“At the international level, I was batting very late and I was bowling also late and getting one or two overs. When I came here, I told Sohan bhai (skipper Nurul Hasan) and Shanian (Riders’ executive director Shanian Taneem) that I wanted the new ball and they gave me the new ball (last season).”

“I started performing and when I returned to the national team I was getting the new ball and Alhamdulillah my performance was good,” Omarzai said.

Omarzai was part of the recently completed T20I series of Afghanistan’s India tour in 2024. “As far as batting is concerned in our national team, we have a deep batting order and my position was late in T20 and one day.”

“In the World Cup, we couldn’t have a combination and for two years we tried so that a team combination was formed as the combination could not be found, I was given a batting promotion in the order.”

“That is the reason they tried me and Alhamdulillah I scored 62 runs against India (in the World Cup) and through that, I got a promotion in the batting order (in the Afghanistan team),” he said.

“It is true that Riders seems to be my second home. After Afghanistan, if I have received love from anywhere it is in this team and this is the team that helped me to showcase my potential as I got the new ball and I have also got batting opportunity. Since I’ve been playing for Rangpur Riders, my game and confidence level improved a lot,” he said.

The Bangladesh Premier League was only after he and his family members watched an Afghanistan team beat Bangladesh in the Asia Cup in 2015.

“Probably that match was in 2015 and it was a match of the Asia Cup where Afghanistan beat Bangladesh. That was the first match that I was seeing live and after that game, my Abbu gave me permission to play professional cricket.”

“Before that, I was playing tape-ball cricket. But after that game, my family gave me permission to play and take it up as a profession,” he said.

“Look people are always assuming that conditions are very bad in Afghanistan and we cannot go out of the house. But we do go out and also roam around after sunset and there is no problem with that.”

Azmatullah Omarzai
Azmatullah Omarzai(Image: Twitter)

“Everything was normal back then, and it is normal now. Some is lacking as far facilities for cricketers are concerned, but there are facilities,” Omarzai said.

“Earlier there was only one ground but now there are six grounds where we play domestic cricket and now we are building another ground. ACB is planning to host international matches there and the required facilities will be there,” he said.

“Look the Afghan players have a lot of talent and they proved it in different leagues but when they came to the national team they could not perform like the way they performed in the leagues.

“Trott came and gave us the mindset that we play for Afghanistan and remain united and it is ok we will play in leagues and we will have experience.”

“But we need to use the experience that we get from those leagues in the national team. We have to be one team and one family and the thing that he has done is he brought all of us together. That is why we are performing well,” he said.

“It is not like you prepare before the World Cup and you get ready for the World Cup. This preparation starts two to three years before the World Cup and our preparation started in 2021.”

“Our management started to make us ready for the World Cup by giving us more opportunities. From that time, our preparation started and that is why we did well in the World Cup,” he said.

With the IPL 2024 set to be played between March 23 and May 29, the World Cup 2024 is set to start on June 02 with the United States and Canada facing off each other at Grand Prairie Stadium.