Asian Games 2010, final, Guangzhou November 26, 2010

Afghan coach says he used India example to inspire team

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Afghanistan coach Rashid Latif has said he inspired his team for the Asian Games final against Bangladesh by narrating how underdogs India beat the all-conquering West Indies to win the 1983 World Cup. "The Indians were not as fit as their rivals, nor was their skill superior to the West Indies, yet on that day they played better and won," Latif told AFP. "My team here was the fittest and they had good skills too, but I warned the boys not to take Bangladesh lightly."

Having stunned favourites Pakistan in the semi-final yesterday, Afghanistan proved worthy opponents against Bangladesh, taking the final to the last over before losing by five wickets.

Latif, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper, said Afghanistan's ultimate aim was to play Test cricket. "The result proved me right, but I am happy we are on the right path. We will improve further if we play the big teams regularly. The aim is to be a Test nation soon and play against the best. I want to bring youngsters into the game so the sport continues to grow in Afghanistan."

Afghanistan have made rapid strides, rising through the ranks from the lower divisions of the World Cricket League. They played in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean earlier this year and narrowly missed qualifying for the 2011 World Cup.

Mohammad Nabi, the Afghanistan captain, said passion for the game kept the players going. "The war has been going on for three decades, but we have been playing cricket there for the last 10 years despite the lack of proper facilities or grounds. Cricket has caught on back home. More people are playing the game or following it on radio and TV."

Nabi was disappointed to lose the final, but said the silver medal had buoyed his team for the five-day Intercontinental Cup final against Scotland in Dubai from December 2. "We want to play as much as possible, wherever possible. The aim is to join the big league."

Afghanistan received backing from Bangladesh, who won their country's first ever Asian Games gold medal. "We are celebrating, but I hope Afghanistan will celebrate too because they deserve the silver medal," Imran Sarwar, the Bangladesh coach, said. "They are a very good side and I am sure they will become a top team in the near future. Their rise has been remarkable.

"This was not an easy win at all. We expected them to make around 100 or 110, but they went to 118 and then kept us under pressure till the end."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on November 30, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    WELL.....THANKS TO ALL MY INDIAN & BANGLADESHI & OTHER FRIENDS FOR SUPPORTING AFGHAN TEAM......:-)

  • KORBAN on November 27, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    I am Bangladeshi. I am proud for our golden boys. They won 1st gold medal of the history of Asian game. I want that they all time will play well and will win any team of the cricket world.

  • dummy4fb on November 27, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    @gmukhtadir...do you want Latif to enable them to beat all teams in 2, 3 months and win the World Cup? Who do you suggest for their coaching?

  • Baundele on November 27, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    Kabir Khan is the main man who helped the Afgan cricket to improve at this level. He brought the ODI status from the division five level. And now Rashid Latif, appointed as the head coach only after August, 2010, is in the lime-light through all his nonsense comments. I bet most of the people who are praising Rashid Latif so highly for his contribution to Afgan cricket do not even know the name of Kabir Khan.

  • LoveTheGame on November 27, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    Typical Cricinfo page....when you do not have anything against pakistan players start it against former players and that too for something which does not exist. If the comments are actually coming from Bangladeshis, its a big surprise because it was Pakistan that helped them get the test status. Obviously Bangladesh worked hard but hard work alone is not enough in this world.

  • Robin_BD on November 27, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    I am a Bangladeshi. I am really proud of my Afghan brother. GOO BROTHERS.

  • Chaltis on November 27, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    Rashid will always be condemned for his cheating against Bangladseh in Multan test, but he would also be appreciated for turning Afghanistan into a fighting team. I am sure they will defeat India within 2/3 unless India denies to play against them and will surely beat teams like Bangladesh, Australlia within 10 years time. Good to see that Indians have appointed some "clap-boys" with English names behind their "Kawali" who keeps souting foul against Bangladesh.

  • dummy4fb on November 27, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    Good job by Rashid....to compete and beat a team like Paksitan (even though a second string team) is just enough to show the remarkable progress of Afghan team.. we Indians are fully behind this Afgan tean and we are very very happy to see such a good team fighting with all the limitations...i hope they are going to be a better team than even Bangladesh within a few years time and would possess a serious threat to all the big names in cricket...good luck to Rashid and Afgan team as a whole....u rockssss

  • pallabi27 on November 27, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Rashid Latif's sarcastic and arrogant remark will always gear up Bangladeshi cricketers which is very good for us. The more aggresive remarks he will make the more burning spirit will be there for us. He will shout with his mouth and we will shout with our bat and ball.

  • Chaltis on November 27, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    Don misunderstand Latif! I beg you guys! He didn't want to mean it that way. Remember the famous jokes of Inzi ragarding his wife's giving birth to a child and the heroics contribution of Afrid! Ha ha ha! In fact he wanted his students to play their best by saying, 'Don take them lightly".

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