'Aggressive cricket is Afghanistan's strength' - Latif
Afghanistan coach Rashid Latif has said that his side has the self-belief to win the ICC Intercontinental Cup final against Scotland which begins on December 2 at the Dubai Sports City International Cricket Stadium. The two teams qualified after finishing first and second in the seven-team league phase.
"They [Afghanistan] hate to lose and are mentally very tough," Latif said. "This team has a lot of self-belief. They play aggressive and positive cricket - that is the strength of this Afghanistan team."
Scotland, who won the inaugural ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, lost their league game against Afghanistan by 229 runs. Afghanistan, who have enjoyed a fairytale run in cricket over the past two years, recently won the silver in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, and Scotland coach Peter Steindel said his team would be the underdogs in the final.
"Afghanistan deserve the favourites tag," Steindel said. "We have been competitive and overall are a workmanlike team. We will continue to work on delivering a strong performance. It has been a two-year cycle. We have targeted this competition as one of the areas for us to do well."
Scotland had earned a walkover against Zimbabwe XI after they decided to forfeit the fixture, which allowed Scotland to move ahead on the points table and qualify for the Dubai final. "Most of our squad haven't played in those conditions before," Steindel said. "It will be a great opportunity for them to become better cricketers. How quickly we adapt to the conditions will be a challenge that we need to overcome. But if you are in the right mental state and fight hard you can overcome any sort of challenge that comes in the way."
ICC Intercontinental Cup squads
Afghanistan: Nawroz Mangal (captain), Karim Sadiq, Asghar Stanikzai, Hamid Hassan, Samiullah Shinwari, Shapoor Zadran, Shabir Noori, Shehzad Mohammadi, Aftab Alam, Batin Shah, Abdullah Mazari, Mohammed Nabi, Mirwais Ashraf, Mohammed Sami Agha, Afzar Zazai, Najeeb Zadran, Gulbodin Naib, Khaliq Dad Noori.
Scotland:Gordon Drummond (captain), Kyle Coetzer, Neil McCallum, Richie Berrington, Majid Haq, Fraser Watts, Simon Smith, Gordon Goudie, Ross Lyons, Preston Mommsen, Matthew Parker, Gregor Maiden, Ryan Flannigan, Stuart Chalmers.