Karachi: When cricketers from the war-ravaged Afghanistan shared the field with one of the powerhouses of the cricketing world, Pakistan, not only did they make the Afghan nation proud but also their former coach, Rashid Latif.
“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,” said Latif while talking to The News Tribe.
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 easily, may be it has become their nature due to the environment in their country,” added Latif.
He had two coaching stints with the Afghan team. In 2010 he worked as the batting coach and was appointed as the chief coach later. 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”.
The former Pakistan skipper also said that the Afghan batsmen showed signs of improvement against Pakistan but the inexperience cost them the match. “A few batsmen got starts, but they threw their wickets away. They have to learn to capitalise on an opportunity. Had they applied themselves properly, the scenario could have been different,” Latif said.