Afghanistan's national coach Kabir Khan has resigned, the Afghanistan Cricket Board says. The ACB adds that it has accepted his resignation.

ACB officials praised Kabir Khan for his services to Afghan cricket since he took over this responsibility in 2008. The ACB media department told the Cricket Post in a phone interview from Kabul that Dr. Omer Zakhilwal has received an e mail and an SMS message from Kabir Khan presenting his resignation. He says that he and CEO Hamid Shinwari have discussed the matter in two separate meetings and have decided to accept the resignation.

ACB officials praised Kabir Khan's contribution towards the development of Afghan cricket in the past three years.

The Cricket Post tried to reach Kabir Khan, but his phone in the United Kingdom was switched off. It seems he and batting coach Rashid Latif are on their way to Pakistan as was planned before the resignation news. The Afghan squad is heading to Kabul via Dubai and will arrive on Thursday morning. The Cricket Post contacted some squad members while they were in Dubai, but they did not know about Kabir Khan's resignation.

Some of them told us on condition of anonymity, as they are not authorised to speak to the media, that Kabir Khan hinted to them that he may no longer be with the Afghan team. A few players we spoke to said Rashid Latif is determined to continue with the Afghan team as a coach and will not follow Kabir Khan in resigning.

The BBC Pashto service has quoted Kabir Khan on its website denying his resignation, but he accepted that he has sent an SMS to the ACB chairman. The report did not mention what was the content of the SMS. The BBC also quoted Rashid Latif saying he may reconsider his decision to continue with the ACB if Kabir resigns, because he joined the ACB because of Kabir's role with the Afghan squad.

It is unclear what exactly led to the contradicting accounts of both the ACB and Kabir Khan and whether the SMS sent by Kabir Khan to ACB Chairman was to resign from his post. It is also not yet confirmed by Kabir Khan whether he sent his resignation through an e mail to Dr. Zakhilwal.

It seems the crisis has a background that is not clear at the moment. Esmatullah Andar, a close follower of Afghan cricket who resides in Dubai, says the picture will get clearer in the next few days and we will know whether Kabir Khan was serious about his resignation or merely wanted to pressurise the ACB. He is of the view that it is not unusual for a coach to resign, saying, “it happens everywhere. Although Kabir Khan's departure will be a loss, the ACB can approach other coaches to train the Afghan squad that has a lot of talent and can cope with any coach."

The news has been shocking to many cricket fans in Afghanistan. A fan on The Cricket Post Facebook page said “this is such a bad news for all of us ..... why…”.

It is rumored that Kabir Khan's decision to bat in the second innings against Scotland in the four day Intercontinental Cup match, instead of enforcing the follow-on, and his decision to choose batting after a rainy night and day in the second ODI against Scotland that Afghanistan lost by 6 wickets may have played a role in the ACB decision to accept Kabir Khan's resignation and that these two incidents may have some further background that may have led to an angry SMS and e-mail by Kabir Khan to the chairman of the ACB.

The Afghan squad arrives in Kabul on Thursday morning, and Kabir Khan's resignation will be a hot issue the media will enquire and debate about in the coming few days.

Article reproduced by kind permission of The Cricket Post