Former Pakistan captain Latif heads to Afghanistan

Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said on Friday he would become Afghanistan’s batting coach and try to bring the nascent team into play with other Asian nations.

“I have decided to join the Afghanistan team as batting coach and help them improve at international level,” Latif told reporters.

“I received an offer from Afghanistan cricket officials and some of the minor formalities will be worked out when I go to Jalalabad later this month.”

The former wicket-keeper batsman, who played 37 Tests and 166 one-day internationals between 1992-2004, said it was important for Afghan cricket to get help from other Asian countries.

“They need more and more cricket to improve and once other Asian countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka tour them or invite them, Afghanistan cricket team will improve,” said Latif.

Latif said foreign tours will help generate interest in Afghanistan.

“I will help liaise with Afghan officials and since they have one-day cricket status I will try to arrange their series in Pakistan, so that cricket is also revived in my country,” said Latif.

International cricket ground to a halt in Pakistan after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009.

The attacks killed eight people, injured seven Sri Lankan players and put paid to Pakistan’s chances of staging international cricket for years.

Latif said Afghanistan’s cricket was improving by leaps and bounds.

“Afghans have shown a passion for cricket and the way they progressed to the World Twenty20 was remarkable,” said Latif.

Afghanistan featured in the third edition of the World Twenty20 held in the West Indies in April-May this year.

Latif will help Afghanistan prepare for next month’s tour of Scotland where they play one four-day match and two one-day internationals.

The war-torn nation has seen cricket become a number one sport in recent years. Most players learnt the game at refugee camps in Pakistan.

Afghanistan’s head coach is former Pakistan fast bowler Kabir Khan.

Last year they finished among the top six teams in the World Cricket League, which earned them one-day status.

They also won the World Twenty20 qualifying round earlier this year and featured in the ICC World Twenty20 where they lost both their matches against India and South Africa.

Afghanistan finished third in the World Cricket League Division One tournament in the Netherlands earlier this month.

Bureau Report


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