Afghanistan news June 11, 2011

Latif's future with Afghanistan still unclear

ESPNcricinfo staff

Uncertainty continues to surround Rashid Latif's position as Afghanistan coach, after an Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) official said his contract would not be renewed. Latif, however, says he has not been contacted yet about any decision.

Following the 3-0 series defeat to Pakistan 'A' last month Latif had said he was disappointed with the attitude and effort put in by some of the players, who he believed did not perform to the best of their abilities because they wanted to see former coach Kabir Khan back in the post.

Now, according to a report in the Pakistan newspaper The News the ACB has decided against renewing Latif's contract. "We believe he has failed to fulfill our expectations and that has prompted us to look at other options," ACB chief executive Naseemullah Danish told the newspaper. "We all respect Latif, but the recent drubbing at the hands of Pakistan A forced us to ponder over our future. We need someone who is mentally tough and does not make lame excuses for defeats.

"I can tell you that we have received the CVs from England and one of them is a big name with a ten years coaching experience in county cricket, and he is likely to be appointed as our batting coach."

Latif told ESPNcricinfo, however, that his contract was currently valid until the end of next month. "I have not been contacted about this. My contract is valid as far as I know till July 20th," he said.

Danish said the board is looking to reappoint Khan as bowling coach. "Kabir will help us in two ways, firstly he is very close to our players and secondly he will help our players understand what the foreign coach will instruct them, since most of our players cannot understand and communicate in English."

The former Pakistan fast bowler Kabir has been coaching United Arab Emirates since October last year after his stint as Afghanistan coach ended abruptly in August 2010; alleged interference from ACB officials forced him to leave the team then.

The situation, however, may not be as clear-cut as it appears. It is believed that there has been contact between ACB chairman Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and Latif in a bid to clear the fog around what has gone wrong between team members and Latif during the Pakistan 'A' series. That intervention, observers believe, may yet have a role to play in the conclusion of this matter.