Afghanistan news July 26, 2010

Latif arrives in Kabul ahead of coaching stint

Cricinfo staff

Rashid Latif, the former Pakistan captain and wicketkeeper, has arrived in Kabul to begin his stint as batting coach of Afghanistan.

Latif was appointed earlier this month to work alongside head coach Kabir Khan, another former Pakistan player. Though he will most likely remain based in Karachi, Latif will have to spend time in Afghanistan coaching both the national side and helping out with grass-roots cricket.

Despite the ongoing conflict he brushed aside any trepidation over security and insisted it's not for him to be dealing with. "That is not my concern I am being well looked after and my job is to focus on the coaching assignment," Latif told reporters at his first press conference since arriving in the country.

Instead his focus is helping to continue the rapid improvement of a side that shot from the lower ends of the World Cricket League to one of the strongest non-Test playing nations in the space of a couple of years.

Recently Afghanistan qualified for the World Twenty20 and impressed with passion and verve despite their defeats to India and South Africa. "The players are very keen to do well for their country, they have lot of pride and energy and that is a great sign," said Latif.

Latif will formally start working with the team at a camp in Jalalabad from July 27. During the six-day training camp, he will return to Pakistan before accompanying the team on their tour to Scotland that includes an Intercontinental Cup fixture and two ODIs. Scotland currently top the Intercontinental Cup table, with Afghanistan in second position.