Latif targets Tests for Afghanistan

Rashid Latif has explained that his aim during his tenure as Afghanistan's coach will be to take the national team towards Test status "within the next two years". Latif's turbulent relationship with Afghanistan cricket took a new twist after he returned to a coaching role with the national team days after stepping down as the Pakistan national academy's wicketkeeping coach, and barely a month after resigning as Afghanistan's batting coach.

"Cricket is now more popular than the bullet in Afghanistan and I am moved by the interest and the available talent in Afghanistan," Latif told AFP after confirming that discussions with the Afghan cricket authorities had led to his coaching placement. "Some of the Afghanistan players are so talented that they can break into any international team and my target will be to guide them to Test status within the next two years."

Latif resigned as the PCB's wicketkeeping coach after being issued a showcause notice by the board for remarks the former captain made about the ongoing spot-fixing scandal on a TV show. Latif had also worked with the Afghanistan national side as batting coach but he stepped down after a month in the post in August following coach Kabir Khan's sacking, citing irreconcilable differences with officials in the Afghan board.

"They are an exciting team and my thinking and mentality, as a straightforward person, matches that of the Afghan players. They, like me, cannot tolerate wrongdoing. I will leave if my chemistry doesn't work there.

"Afghanistan needs cricket to heal the scars of more than 30 years at war. It is my experience that with more and more cricket, the scars of war will be healed. A lot of people tried to dissuade me from travelling to Afghanistan but it is just like Karachi and I had no fear in Kabul or Jalalabad."