Afghanistan news June 14, 2011

Rashid Latif steps down as Afghanistan coach

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rashid Latif has finally stepped down as coach of Afghanistan after weeks of growing discontent within the squad about the coach. His resignation has been accepted by the Afghanistan Cricket Board.

"I take responsibility for the series defeat to Pakistan A and am therefore stepping down from the position," Latif told ESPNcricinfo. "I cannot continue any longer because of my own commitments."

Latif joined the side as batting coach in July last year, eventually taking over as head coach after Kabir Khan left the post abruptly in August. Under his watch, the side beat Pakistan in the T20 semi-finals of the Asian Games before losing to Bangladesh in the final. They also beat Scotland in the ICC Intercontinental Cup and Canada in a warm-up game for the 2011 World Cup.

But they were whitewashed in three 50-over games by a Pakistan 'A' side in Pakistan last month, after which murmurs of the players' and board officials' unhappiness with Latif grew. Latif is said to believe that some players deliberately underperformed in the series against Pakistan 'A' to undermine his position.

Latif's contract with the board was till July 20th. It is believed the players are now keen to bring Kabir back as coach, though he is currently with UAE.

"I enjoyed my stint with Afghanistan and learnt a lot from the players and about the culture as well," Latif said. "I am happiest that we held camps in Afghanistan for training and hope that more grounds are built there because that is how they will progress further. I wish them the best of luck for the future."

Afghanistan don't play again until August, when they take on Canada in an Intercontinental Cup game in Canada followed by two one-day internationals.