Afghanistan lose Latif's services

Afghanistan have suffered another blow as Rashid Latif, who took up the post of batting coach last month, has resigned less than a week after head coach Kabir Khan was dumped by the Afghan Board.

Latif reportedly officially offered his resignation through an email to the board, and like Khan cited interference with his coaching role as the main reason behind his decision. "Kabir also left his job because of the same reason. I was not free to impose my ideas on the team. From team combination to the match strategy, the Afghan board officials want to dictate everything," said Latif.

Hamid Shinwari, the Afghanistan Cricket Board's chief executive, struck back by telling the Cricket Post that the board "received Rashid's resignation and fully respect his choice, but are shocked to receive a long list of new demands just 25 days after signing a contract with him."

The ACB had issued a press release explaining that Latif would take over the coaching role after Khan's departure, but Shinwari suggested that Latif had asked the ACB to either re-hire Khan as coach or double his own salary and increase his benefits if he were to take up the role. The ACB's response was that they could not afford his demands, and so the senior national side now find themselves without a coach.

Shinwari explained that the ACB was in contact with the ICC and had requested help in hiring a new coach, who would join the national squad prior to the team's Kenya tour in October this year. Afghanistan's problems could run even deeper than a search for a new coach, however, as Latif added that he had given a comprehensive plan to the Afghan Cricket authorities for the development of the game at the grassroots level which included the establishment of academies and grounds, but his suggestions had been ignored.

Latif explained that he had also wanted the Afghan team to practice more at home, but the board seemed not to like the idea. "Since I had a good training session with the Afghan cricketers in Jalalabad, hence I wanted more training sessions in Jalalabad and Kabul, but the authorities want to hold camps in Sharjah. With this attitude the Afghan cricket would go nowhere."

Raees Ahmadzai, a regular in the national team, has raised similar concerns in his blog for CricketEurope. "We wanted to do something for Afghanistan and we worked our hardest to make it happen," wrote Ahmadzai. "We had hoped that this was a legacy that Afghanistan's future cricket stars would embrace. We had built it with the hope we were starting a legacy, but unfortunately, the structures that need to be in place for grassroots cricket to really take off are still nowhere to be seen in Afghanistan.

"The investment in grassrooots cricket in Afghanistan still hasn't happened," he added. "We do not have any professional grounds, proper academies in Kabul, or a club cricket structure to put young Afghan cricket enthusiasts through. With the ICC pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the ACB, plus the investment from the US embassy in Kabul, $350,000 from Etisalat and $200,000 from Supreme Group, we should be in a much more advanced position."

Ahmadzai went on to express his sadness that Afghanistan still had not played any one-day internationals against Test nations despite gaining ODI status more than 18 months ago and lamented the fact that "the incentive for the youth to play is slowly diminishing."