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Latif aims for Afghanistan's Test status

AFP
Sep 15, 2010 at 05:19pm IST

Karachi: Afghanistan's new cricket coach, Rashid Latif, vowed on Wednesday to guide the national team to Test status within two years, a day after leaving his Pakistan job over spot-fixing comments.

The 41-year-old former Pakistan cricket captain agreed to take on the head coach role after quitting as the Pakistan national academy's wicketkeeping coach, and barely a month after resigning as Afghanistan's batting coach.

He said he was motivated by a swell of support for the game in Afghanistan, and an impressive supply of talent and honesty among the players.

Latif aims for Afghanistan's Test status

Afghanistan's new cricket coach, Rashid Latif, vowed to guide the national team to Test status within two years.

"Cricket is now more popular than the bullet in Afghanistan and I am moved by the interest and the available talent in Afghanistan," Latif said.

"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."

"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," said Latif, adding: "I will leave if my chemistry doesn't work there."

The former wicketkeeper-batsman resigned from Pakistan's national academy on Tuesday after authorities handed him notice over a statement he made about a spot-fixing scandal engulfing his home side.

Pakistani cricket has been rocked by a British investigation against three of its top players -- captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir -- after a tabloid newspaper said they had taken money to bowl no-balls during a Test against England in August.

Scotland Yard, London's police headquarters, is investigating the claims, but Latif caused consternation last week when he said the International Cricket Council and its anti-corruption unit were "powerless" to fight betting scams. He also suggested that the ICC change its rules to curb corruption, and described the News of the World report as a "joint money-making exercise" by the newspaper reporter and the alleged bookie, Mazhar Majeed.

Latif played 37 Tests and 166 one-day internationals in an illustrious career that also saw him campaign against corruption in the game. He had been wicketkeeping coach at the academy since late 2008.

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