x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Latif proposes Pakistan play Afghanistan

The former Pakistan captain has proposed a one-day series between his country and Afghanistan to help combat the troubles in the region.

Rashid Latif, the former Pakistan captain, has proposed a one-day series between his country and Afghanistan to help combat the troubles in the region. The two countries have faced a wave of Taliban attacks in recent years that have killed thousands of people. "Both countries have been badly affected and a cricket series between them can serve as a reminder to the people that they must fight this threat together," Latif said.

The former wicketkeeper, who played 37 Tests and 166 ODIs before retiring in 2003, spoke after returning from Kabul where he is starting a new job as Afghanistan's batting coach. He will accompany the team to Scotland on a training tour this month. A militant attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March 2009, in which six policemen were killed and five visiting players wounded, led to the suspension of international cricket in Pakistan and they lost the right to host 14 matches of the 2011 World Cup.

"I will request the Pakistan board to host the Afghanistan team for a one-day series later this year," Latif said. "I am confident that it will eventually pave the way for the return of international cricket to Pakistan." The former captain said he enjoyed his coaching assignment in Afghanistan and saw plenty of cricket potential. "The enthusiasm and skill level of the players in Afghanistan is amazing considering the problems they have been through in recent years," Latif said.

Afghanistan raised their standing in international cricket last year when they beat the Netherlands - their maiden first-class win - at a tournament for non-Test playing associate nations. They reached the final stages of the qualifiers for the 2011 World Cup, although they did not go through. They also competed in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean before being eliminated by South Africa. * Reuters