By Muhammad Asif Khan
Karachi: The day when cricketers from the war-ravaged Afghanistan shared the field with one of the powerhouses of the cricketing world, Pakistan, did not only make the Afghan nation proud but their former coach, Rashid Latif has also expressed satisfaction over the historic development. “Indeed, it’s a big day in Afghan cricket history. Playing against a team like Pakistan was tough, but at the same time must have provided them (Afghans) with valuable experience which will go a long way towards boosting their confidence”, maintained Latif while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.
The Afghani team faced Pakistan in its first ever one-day international against a Test-playing team on Friday in Sharjah, where Pakistan won by 7 wickets.
“I spent a lot of time with the Afghan players. They are mentally very strong and have a great ability to fight till the end. They don’t give up very easily, may be it has become their nature due to the adverse environment they had faced in their country”, added Latif.
Rashid Latif has had two coaching stints with the Afghan Cricket team. In 2010 he worked as the batting coach and was appointed as the chief coach in the following year. Latif, however, stepped down citing differences with the cricket management of Afghanistan. Under Latif’s coaching Afghanistan beat Pakistan in the Twenty20 semifinals at the Asian Games at Guangzhou, China, and won the Inter-Continental Cup.
Last year Afghanistan also became the first foreign team to tour Pakistan since 2009 and played three ODIs against Pakistan “A” but was outclassed by a thumping 3-0 margin.
The former Pakistan skipper, Rashid Latif was also of the view that the Afghan batsmen showed a signs of improvement against Pakistan in the first ever ODI but the inexperience cost them. “A few batsmen got the start however threw their wickets away. They have to learn to capitalise on an opportunity. Had they applied themselves properly, the scenario could have been different”, concludes Latif.