Latif in favour of Pak-Afghan series

Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has said that he will request the PCB to host a one-day international series against Afghanistan later this year, which will help in changing the perception of the outside world about the security situation in the strife-torn nation.

Latif, who returned from Kabul and Jalalabad after coaching the Afghanistan, said he wanted to see a Pak-Afghan series as it would serve many purposes.

"Basically Afghanistan needs to be given more international exposure. Since international teams are not touring Pakistan because of security reasons, I think having a series against Afghanistan will help in changing the perception of the outside world about the security situation in the country," he said.

The former wicketkeeper-batsman, who played 37 Tests and 166 ODIs for Pakistan between 1992 and 2003, said he saw lot of potential in the Afghanistan team.

"I don`t think they will be pushovers if the PCB allocates them a proper series as they have an ODI status and Pakistan can also try out its young players," Latif said.

He also pointed out that having a Pak-Afghan series in Pakistan would send out the right signals to the international cricket community.

"Both countries have suffered the most from terrorism in the last few years and if both play a full international series, it will give out a message that the people of both countries can jointly combat the menace of terrorism," Latif said.

Pakistan and Afghanistan, who share a common border, have been affected the most by the war on terror with the Taliban launching regular attacks on both sides of the border.

Militants also attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore last year in which six Pakistani policemen were killed and five visiting players were wounded.

Since then international teams have refused to tour Pakistan because of security concerns and to the nation`s agony it also lost the right to host 14 matches of next year`s ICC World Cup.

As a result Pakistan has been forced to play its share of home series at neutral venues.

Latif said he had enjoyed the challenge of working with the Afghanistan team as batting coach because of their great passion for the sport.

"I was surprised at the interest and passion prevalent among the Afghani people for cricket despite the tough conditions they face. They are very proud of their cricket team and it has the potential to improve further," he said.