Thursday, May 06, 2010

Afghans in search of new horizons after T20 heroics

Barbados — Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan wants professional teams around the world to help his players build on their performances at the World Twenty20.

Afghanistan bowed out of the tournament with a 59-run loss to South Africa after being dismissed for 80 as they collapsed in the face of hostile fast bowling from Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn.

But earlier they held the Proteas to 139 for seven, a decent effort in any terms and one all the more impressive given some Afghanistan players only took up the game a few years ago and that the side were recently competing against the likes of Jersey and Denmark.

Afghanistan fast bowler Hamid Hassan, who took three wickets for 21 runs against South Africa and then struck 22, featuring two huge sixes, has been on the Young Cricketer scheme run by Lord's based Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)

Mean while off-spinning all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has played domestic cricket in Pakistan.

Khan, himself a former Pakistan pace bowler, said: "In Afghanistan the team was already heroes, but it was good to see them on the television and they have been exposed.

"As a coach that's what I'm happy about because we want them to play tough professional cricket in other countries with a contract in South Africa, Australia, England or India.

"If you want to get used to facing the likes of Steyn or Morkel or anyone on top of the world they have to play against them in domestic cricket.

"We haven't got a domestic structure in Afghanistan (the security situation in the country makes matches there a rarity) and preparing for a World Cup for three or four weeks isn't enough.

"We want all the big cricket countries to help us in that. We've got talent, the boys are quite ready and they are quick learners.

"They (other nations) could invite players for training camps, they could invite them into the domestic games as professional or semi-professional we don't mind but they should play cricket."

Meanwhile Afghanistan Nowroz Mangal was proud of the way his played against South Africa.

"We bowled and fielding really well to restrict South Africa to 139 as they have a lot of good players, but they bowled really well.

"They were really quick, bowling at 90mph and there was swing as well so it was very difficult for our batsmen to face them. But it was a good experience for us." I think the whole past two years has been their experience.

"With each stage they are going a step higher.

"As a coach I am quite satisfied with their performance against two top nations in the world.

"Against India (where opener Noor Ali made 50 in a total of 115 in St Lucia last week) there was all sorts of pressure on them, there was television, there were the big stars, there was the crowd and they coped with it very well.

"Today (Wednesday) to restrict a batting line-up like South Africa to 139 is a big achievement so there are all sorts of pluses for them.

"The key is they need to be exposed to that pressure again and again and then they'll get used to it.

"We were talking about practising for the pace bowlers and on a bowling machine you can put it to 90mph but you can?t have Dale Steyn bowling at you and swinging the ball.

"So you have to face those bowlers to get the experience. Because my team are quick learners when they play against South Africa or India again they will do much better."

No comments: