Afghanistan face long pe­riod of in­ter­na­tional down­time

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

AGHANISTAN will have to wait till June 2017 for their next in­ter­na­tional as­sign­ment, when they travel to the West Indies. Nei­ther of the teams will be part of the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, which will also take place at that time of the year in Eng­land.

In the in­terim, Afghanistan will take part in a train­ing camp at home, play in this sea­son’s Ah­mad Shah Ab­dali four-day do­mes­tic tour­na­ment and wait for con­fir­ma­tion on a T20 tour­na­ment in Dubai in­volv­ing other As­so­ci­ate na­tions.

Afghanistan’s man­ager Ab­dul Wali Amin said that coach Lalc­hand Ra­jput wants to fo­cus on fit­ness dur­ing the camp to be held from mid-Novem­ber.

“We don’t have any­thing from now till De­cem­ber,” Amin said.

“Maybe next year there’s an As­so­ci­ate T20 se­ries in Dubai. The [do­mes­tic] four-day tour­na­ment started on Septem­ber 29, and it will go on for more than two months. The na­tional play­ers will need some rest hav­ing been on the road for the last three months but, af­ter that, they will have a month-long camp from midNovem­ber. The coach wants to work on their phys­i­cal fit­ness, which is very im­por­tant. They will also work on their field­ing and skills de­vel­op­ment.”

He said that an in­creased num­ber of qual­i­fied coaches are help­ing Afghanistan cricket im­prove rapidly, and that fo­cus is also be­ing put on hav­ing more of th­ese coaches in charge of rep­re­sen­ta­tive sides.

“We have four or five Level 3 coaches cur­rently in Afghanistan. It re­ally helps us pro­mote cricket, es­pe­cially Un­der-19 and A team. We have lo­cal coaches as as­sis­tants in the na­tional team as well. It helps us to pro­mote our own coach­ing staff.

“We have enough Level 2 coaches as well. We also have good um­pires and phys­ios, and all of it is for Afghanistan cricket to im­prove.”

Afghanistan cap­tain As­ghar Stanikzai said that his team will take the ex­pe­ri­ence from the short trip to Bangladesh and ap­ply it when they next play a top-level team.

“We have learnt a lot from this se­ries. It was very im­por­tant se­ries for us. Play­ing against Zim­babwe [in Zim­babwe and in the UAE] and Bangladesh has pro­vided us with the op­por­tu­nity to see how we can play against the Full Mem­ber na­tions. It helps us pro­mote our cricket and get fa­mil­iar against Full Mem­bers.

“I think we played very well against Bangladesh and Zim­babwe. They have beaten a lot of big na­tions. So hope­fully we will have a se­ries against West Indies in June and tak­ing this ex­pe­ri­ence we will be pre­pared for West Indies.” — ESPNCricinfo

Afghanistan won a game in Bangladesh, but, if all goes to sched­ule, will not face in­ter­na­tional op­po­si­tion again till mid-2017 — As­so­ci­ated Press

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