Karachi: Pakistan’s former captain and wicketkeeper Rashid Latif, who is now the coach of the Afghanistan team, didn’t join in the celebrations after his side upset Pakistan in the semifinal of the Asian Games T20 cricket tournament.
Rashid had predicted before the match that his boys would overcome fancied Pakistan in the semifinal match.
“I am happy that my players have lived up to my expectations and reached the final of the T20 competition but as a Pakistani I am also feeling the same way like other Pakistanis on seeing the Pakistan team lose the semifinal,” Rashid said.
The former captain said that being a former Pakistani player it was always difficult to see Pakistan lose in any match.
“But now I am a professional coach and my first priority is to ensure that Afghanistan does well whether it is against Pakistan or any other team,” he said.
Rashid said that he was delighted at Afghanistan’s victory and was pretty sure that they would beat Pakistan, who are coached by former Test opener, Sadiq Muhammad.
“The team has some exciting young players and they click very well as a team. I think the training camp we set up in Jalalabad for the Asian Games has helped us a lot,” he added.
Rashid said that he was proud that Afghan President, Hamid Karzai had called up the team to congratulate them for the semifinal win and wish them luck for the final.
“Such gestures give the team a lot of boost and want us to do better. I am sure that if Afghanistan is given a chance to play Test cricket they will improve rapidly and be among the top teams in the world soon,” he said.
Pakistan sent a depleted side to the Asian Games as its senior team was busy playing against South Africa in the UAE and the second string players had gone to West Indies for an official tour.
But Rashid said that despite everything it was a big step forward for the Afghanistan team to reach the cricket final and be in a position to win the gold medal.
“I know how important it would be for Afghanistan as a country if the team can win the gold medal,” he added.