Latif wants International exposure for Afghan team

Karachi: Former Pakistan skipper and current Afghanistan coach, Rashid Latif on Monday called on the World cricket community to give the minnow nation more exposure at the international level.

The Afghanistan team today left for home after losing 3-0 to Pakistan A team in the one-day series but Latif insisted the results didn`t reflect the true talent in the his team.

"I think it was a case of them not being used to playing a bilateral series against a test playing nation. And they were playing at this level after a long gap the last time we played was against Kenya before the World Cup. While if you compare the Pakistan A side their players are regularly playing cricket," Latif said.

The former wicketkeeper-batsman also pointed out that the Afghanistan players had found it hard to adjust against quality bowlers.

"Frankly speaking they require regular cricket against top teams to get used to this level of bowling. But in bits and pieces I was satisfied with the performance of the boys. The series has been a great learning curve for them," said Latif.

The Afghanistan team became the first foreign team to tour Pakistan since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March, 2009 leading to foreign teams staying away from the country.

Since that attack Pakistan has been forced to play all its home series at neutral venues because of refusal of teams to tour Pakistan owing to security concerns.

The last match in Faisalabad yesterday saw PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt and other board officials also in attendance where the Afghanistan officials requested that they be given regular matches against the second-string Pakistan sides.

Latif said that while Pakistan was supporting Afghanistan cricket a lot the same attitude was required from other test playing nations.

"I think the ICC and its other test members need to do more for Afghanistan team. It would be great if they can get regular bilateral series against different A sides. They can only improve if they play regularly," he said.

Latif also expressed the need of a state-of-the-art academy in Afghanistan and said that to compete at the highest level the Afghan cricket team require facilities at par with the rest of the world.

"All good teams carry a proficient support staff along with training facilities at home. To secure the cricketing future of Afghanistan, we need academies there. The Afghan cricket authorities are focused on this objective and we will soon have a stadium and an academy in Afghanistan," he added.

The PCB is said to be satisfied that the series passed off without any security incident and are now hoping to build on the series to try convincing other boards to also send their second string and A teams to Pakistan.


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