Latif quits as Afghanistan coach


Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he had resigned as Afghanistan cricket coach after his team’s 3-0 routing at the hands of a second tier Pakistani team. “I resigned soon after Afghanistan’s defeat against Pakistan ‘A’ last month which was accepted on Monday,” Latif told AFP.
“I felt if Afghanistan is not showing improvement despite my full efforts then it’s no use sticking around.” The 42-year-old former wicketkeeper took over as coach last July after his Pakistani predecessor Kabir Khan developed differences with the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB). Under Latif, Afghanistan beat Pakistan in the semi-final of the Asian Games in China last year before losing to Bangladesh to finish with a silver medal.
That followed their triumph in the Inter-Continental Cup, a first-class tournament for Associate members of the International Cricket Council. Latif said he had been delighted to coach Afghanistan. “I thoroughly enjoyed coaching Afghan players who are very passionate but it’s against my rules to stick if the job is not done,” said Latif, who denied press reports of a rift between him and members of the team.
“I respected the players and they gave me respect, so there was no rift,” said Latif, who runs several cricket academies in Pakistan. Latif said Afghanistan has a bright future in the game but said the country needed to build infrastructure as soon as possible. “Once it’s built they will show more improvement,” said Latif. ACB chief executive Naseemullah Danish said Latif’s resignation had been accepted and that coaches from England and former coach Khan were being considered as possible replacements.
“We felt that the recent defeats against Pakistan’s second string were not acceptable and Latif has not been able to meet our expectations so we have to look at other options,” Danish told AFP. Afghanistan will begin its Inter-Continental Cup title defence next month. Cricket shot to popularity in war-ravaged Afghanistan in the early 2000s with the return of refugees who learnt the game in camps in Pakistan after they were forced to flee the Soviet invasion of their country in 1979.