Lalchand Rajput to coach Afghanistan : The former Indian opening batsman, 54-year old Lalchand Raput, pipped the likes Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan, Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa, Corey Collymore of West Indies to bag the prestigious position of Head Coach of the minnows, Afghanistan.
The final battle for the coveted position got reduced to between Rajput and the other Indian flamboyant batsman, Mohammad Kaif, with the former Mumbai skipper emerging the winner.
Rajput’s credentials speak about his being the coach of U19 Team India and was also the manager/coach of the national team when they went on to win the inaugural T20 Word Cup under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 1987.
Lalchand takes over from the former Pakistan skipper, Inzamam ul Haq, who stepped down from the position in April this year.
On the appointment of Lalchand Rajput, the Chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, Nasimullah Danish said, “Mr. Rajput, who has coached the Indian Under-19 Cricket side as well as the Mumbai Indians franchise in the IPL. 54-year-old”s experience is a key asset for Afghanistan Cricket.”
“Mr. Rajput is technically and professionally strong coach in cricket, I am sure his presence with Afghan national cricket team will benefit the team; he will be joining team in Scotland, Ireland and Netherland tour.”
Post retirement, Lalchand also served as the Joint Hony Secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
As per the contract, Rajput is likely to join the Afghan national side for their upcoming tours of Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands in July and August, 2016.
If there is one team that is to be closely watched for their progress in the limited version of the game, it is Afghanistan, who have been making progress in leaps and bounds. Given the limited infrastructure facilities, political instability / disturbances within the country, the progress made by the cricket team is highly commendable.
In October 2015, they, for the first time beat a Test playing nation, when they won the 5-match ODI series 3-2 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. Afghanistan became the first ever ICC Associate Team to beat an ICC Full Member Team in a bilateral series.
Afghanistan currently are at No 10 in the ICC ODI Team rankings and 9th in the T20 format.