Afghans in search of new horizons after T20 heroics

Bridgetown (Barbados): Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan wants professional teams around the world to help his players build on their performances at the World Twenty20.

Afghanistan bowed out of the tournament with a 59-run loss to South Africa after being dismissed for 80 as they collapsed in the face of hostile fast bowling from Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn.

But earlier they held the Proteas to 139 for seven, a decent effort in any terms and one all the more impressive given some Afghanistan players only took up the game a few years ago and that the side were recently competing against the likes of Jersey and Denmark.

Afghanistan fast bowler Hamid Hassan, who took three wickets for 21 runs against South Africa and then struck 22, featuring two huge sixes, has been on the Young Cricketer scheme run by Lord`s based Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

Meanwhile, off-spinning all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has played domestic cricket in Pakistan.

Khan, himself a former Pakistan pace bowler, said: "In Afghanistan the team was already heroes, but it was good to see them on the television and they have been exposed.”

"As a coach that`s what I`m happy about because we want them to play tough professional cricket in other countries with a contract in South Africa, Australia, England or India.”

"If you want to get used to facing the likes of Steyn or Morkel or anyone on top of the world they have to play against them in domestic cricket.”

"We haven`t got a domestic structure in Afghanistan (the security situation in the country makes matches there a rarity) and preparing for a World Cup for three or four weeks isn`t enough.”

"We want all the big cricket countries to help us in that. We`ve got talent, the boys are quite ready and they are quick learners.”

"They (other nations) could invite players for training camps, they could invite them into the domestic games as professional or semi-professional we don`t mind but they should play cricket."

Bureau Report