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Title parting gift to Kabir Khan, says Hassan

Afghanistan currently leads the ICC Intercontinental Cup points table with 77 points from five games

Title parting gift to Kabir Khan, says Hassan - Cricket News

Hamid Hassan has been the leading bowler in ICC Intercontinental Cup
Afghanistan paceman Hamid Hassan has said that the team wants to win the ICC Intercontinental Cup as a gift for former team coach Kabir Khan.

Afghanistan currently leads the ICC Intercontinental Cup points table with 77 points from five games. The team is scheduled to travel to Kenya this week to play its final league game in the tournament from 2 October to 5 October.

"Kabir Khan was a very good coach. He had done very well with us for the last two years. Everybody misses him. We want to win the ICC Intercontinental Cup for him. This will be a gift for him," said Hassan.

Kabir Khan recently stood down from his post as coach and another former Pakistan player Rashid Latif took his place.

But according to Hassan, the development of the Afghanistan team as a force to reckon with in the ICC Intercontinental Cup happened because of Kabir Khan.

"Before the ICC Intercontinental Cup we had no idea of first-class cricket. We had no patience to play the longer version of the game. It was Kabir Khan who tried to teach us the values of playing patiently and also about the importance of concentration.

"He (Kabir Khan) had told us if we play patiently, the runs and wickets will follow. We kept following Kabir Khan's words. We have been improving. Thanks to him (Kabir Khan) we have learnt to play the four-day format. But we still have a lot to learn," added Hassan.

New coach, Latif, took charge of the team last week. Afghanistan have prepared for the Kenya challenge by training and playing at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. The team won two warm-up one-day day-night matches against an Emirates Cricket Board XI last week.

"Rashid Latif is really good. He has a keen eye on all departments. He has been concentrating on players individually. Everybody is happy with him. It has been a focused training schedule," said Hassan.

Hassan currently tops the bowling charts of the ICC Intercontinental Cup with 24 wickets from four games. He has played a major part on the field with his bowling. "I have never played in Kenya, so it will be an experience for me as well."

The team, said Hassan, wants nothing less than a win in the final league game against hosts Kenya. "We feel very good, are fit and ready for a good performance against Kenya. If we win this game as well, we will remain on top of the table. Even a draw with six points on the first innings will be fine, but we want to win," informed Hassan.

The Afghanistan team has prepared for the contest by training first at home before the Sharjah trip. "We have prepared well. We had a training camp in Jalalabad and another one in Kabul. It was very cold in Kabul," said Hassan.

According to Hassan, the team's preparations mirrored the build-up to their last league game against hosts Scotland in August. "It was similar to when we played Scotland. Then we had good plans in place thanks to Kabir Khan and Rashid Latif (then batting coach). That is why we won the game against Scotland."

Even with Kenya currently placed at fifth position with 43 points, Hassan insists that the team won't take the fixture lightly. "We are not taking anyone lightly. If we take any team lightly we may lose. We don't want to do that," said Hassan.

According to Hassan, the Afghanistan team is in the best possible shape to continue their domination in the ICC Intercontinental Cup. "I think the team combination is perfect right now. The team is a lot better than what it was."

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