The Cricket Post has learnt that the Afghanistan Cricket Board decided in a last minute change of mind not to sign former Pakistani captain Rashid Latif as a batting coach.

"The decision was made due to pressure from some players and individuals involved in Afghan cricket" said a source close to the ACB, who refused to name those individuals. Sources added that coach Kabir Khan also had a different view as he favours an Australian or a South African batting coach for Afghanistan. Kabir Khan echoed the same in an interview with TCP earlier this month.

Sources mentioned that the ACB was close to sign the contract with Rashid Latif and even received a copy of his passport for this purpose, but withdrew from the deal. It seems ACB's current administration does not want to get involved in further conflicts with players and former cricket officials who are "very" influential and have a nexus of contacts including top officials within president Hamid Karzia's palace, the source said.

Chief Executive Officer of the ACB, Aimal Shinwari, confirmed not signing Rashid Latif and said the ACB is still looking for a batting coach. He seemed unhappy with the decision expressing his regret over the decision to not sign the contract with Rashid.

Afghanistan's cricket suffers unrest these days due to conflicts and disagreement surfaced early this month between current officials on one side and a group of cricket players and some former ACB officials on the other side.

The latter side tried to get power and positions through creating conflicts with the ACB. Raees Ahmadzai was leading the fight against current ACB administration demanding a powerful position for him. At one stage, he demanded to be appointed as a chief selector, but at a later stage asked for CEO. Created by a group of players, the conflict has disappointed cricket fans in Afghanistan and discouraged the ACB from taking brave steps towards promoting cricket in Afghanistan and building a proper cricket infrastructure.

Kabir Khan's advice to hire an Australian or South African coach may not be feasible at this stage given the lack of security in Afghanistan and the unwillingness of many to coach inside Afghanistan. Rashid Latif, a Pakistani like Kabir Khan and willing to travel to Afghanistan and speaking a language Afghan players understand, was viewed a suitable option by many cricket fans and analysts in Afghanistan.

Killing the contract with Rashid latif is no doubt a victim of politics and fight for personal interest in Afghan cricket which means Aghanistan will continue without a batting coach for a while, and that makes it an easy target for the best associates in the ICC World Cricket League Division 1 in the Netherlands.

Afghans have shown poor batting performance in the T20 World Cup raising concerns about its ability to rise to the upper level in international cricket.

Article reproduced by kind permission of The Cricket Post