x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Afghanistan coach has an open door policy

Some observers believe the side could become riven by envy if the leading players start to attract offers from the world's lucrative Twenty20 leagues.

SHARJAH // Kabir Khan, the Afghanistan coach, says any jealousy felt over the increasing upwards mobility of the team's leading players could prove beneficial.

Despite the combustible nature of the sport's administration in the country, Afghanistan have maintained a commendably settled side throughout their remarkable rise up the cricket standings.

Nawroz Mangal has captained the side more or less unchallenged since they took their first steps on the international ladder, and the nucleus of the team has remained unaltered for at least five years.

However, some observers believe the side could become riven by envy if the leading players start to attract offers from the world's lucrative Twenty20 leagues.

The likes of Hamid Hassan, Mohammed Nabi and Mohammed Shahzad have each seen their stock rise with the team's growing exposure in recent times.

If one of them does land a contract to play in the Indian Premier League, for example, it will be trailblazing rather than divisive, according to Kabir.

"Getting jealous in a positive way is good," said the former Pakistan bowler.

"Somebody has to be the first. Somebody has to be the first to have a contract with a county, or in grade cricket or in the IPL, the Bangladesh league or the Sri Lankan league.

"If the door is open, you can go through it. At the moment the door is shut, and we want someone to start to open it.

"If they are going to be jealous over that person, it needs to be positive and they should work hard to reach it themselves."

The Afghans had their wings clipped in the ACC Trophy when they lost to the UAE by eight wickets in the semi-final.

They had some consolation for giving up their title yesterday, though, as they thrashed Malaysia by eight wickets to finish third.

pradley@thenational.ae

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