Coach defends cricketers’ dismal showing
KABUL (PAN): The Afghanistan cricket coach on Saturday defended the national team’s performance in recent events, saying a two-year plan was being devised to hone the squad’s skills in all departments of the game.
Last week, the team returned home from a three-month foreign tour that took them to the UAE, the West Indies and Sri Lanka. Although they won the competition in the West Indies, the Afghans failed to impress in other tournaments.
Addressing a news conference in Kabul, coach Kabir Khan said all teams and players naturally saw ups and downs. But he did acknowledge Afghanistan’s dismal performance against England in their World Cup match in Sri Lanka.
Over the past couple of years, the Afghans had considerably improved in terms of exposure and professionalism, Khan claimed, blaming the team’s poor showing in the UAE on a sudden change of the venue. “We had devised a strategy for playing on one track. But the venue was shifted at the eleventh hour, having a bad effect on the team.”
About the exclusion of Izzatullah Dawlatzai from the playing 11 for the Elite Cup, the coach said the cricketer was mentally unprepared. “He was under pressure after performing poorly against England and had other problems as well.”
In response to a query, he said they were working together with the Afghanistan Cricket Board to prepare a formidable line-up for the 2014 World Cup.
Reminded of Karim Sadiq’s tendency to play fast and lose, Khan said: “By nature, he is an aggressive batsman. If we pressure him into changing his approach, he may be distressed. With a little bit concentration, he could score prolifically.”
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