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Self-belief will be the key for Afghanistan, says Latif

Afghanistan coach Rashid Latif reckons the self-belief in his side will be the key to extending its winning run in the ICC Intercontinental Cup as it prepares for the final against Scotland, which will take place from 2 to 6 December 2010 at the Dubai Sports City International Cricket Stadium

Self-belief will be the key for Afghanistan, says Latif - Cricket News

Afghanistan coach Rashid Latif is confident about his team's chances
Afghanistan coach Rashid Latif reckons the self-belief in his side will be the key to extending its winning run in the ICC Intercontinental Cup as it prepares for the final against Scotland, which will take place from 2 to 6 December 2010 at the Dubai Sports City International Cricket Stadium.

Afghanistan and Scotland qualified for the final after finishing in the top two of a seven-team competition, which provides teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to play the longer form of the game.

Scotland, who captured the inaugural title in 2004, will know it faces a tough challenge against Nawroz Mangal's side having lost its league match to the side by 229 runs. Ireland, who won the title three previous times, did not make qualify for the final.

"Afghanistan had a good coach in Kabir Khan during the league stage. They hate to lose and are mentally very tough. This team has a lot of self belief. They play aggressive and positive cricket which is the strength of this Afghanistan team," said Latif.

Latif had words of praise for the opponents, Scotland too. "Scotland is not new in international cricket. It has a very good record against tough opposition. The biggest advantage is that Scotland is a good fielding side," he said.

Scotland coach Peter Steindl believes his side will be underdogs heading into the final. "The only game that we have lost has been to Afghanistan. So we are going in as underdogs," he said

"Afghanistan deserves the favourites tag. We have been competitive and overall are a workmanlike team. We will continue to work on delivering a strong performance. It has been a two-year cycle. We have enjoyed every game. We have targeted this competition as one of the areas for us to do well," he added.

The Scotland coach acknowledged the fact that his squad will take time to get used to the conditions in Dubai.

"Most in our squad haven't played in those conditions before. It will be a great opportunity for them to become better cricketers. How quickly we adapt to the conditions in Dubai will be a challenge that we need to surmount. But if you are in the right mental state and fight hard you can overcome any sort of challenge that comes in the way."

One man who will keep an eye on the Afghanistan game will be the new United Arab Emirates coach Kabir Khan, even as he prepares his side for the ICC Intercontinental Shield final against Namibia that runs from 2 to 5 December.

The match, to be played at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai, will see Namibia, the runners-up in the 2007-8 I Cup, looking to win the inaugural I Shield competition.

The UAE won its league game against Namibia by four wickets in Windhoek. But make no mistake, Kabir will be completely focused on trying to have an immediate impact as the new coach of the UAE.

This is not the first time that Kabir will be working with the UAE side having spent close to seven months with them couple of years ago.

"I want more competition for places that is the reason I have tried to get a few young players. It is a bit like India who keep winning but rest a few seniors just to give the coach a few options. You should be brave enough to throw your young talent at the deep end for stiffer tests whether it is in bowling or batting," said Kabir.

Namibia captain Craig Williams is ready for the UAE test and is not bothered about the league result.

"I do think we will be favourites. We are a better side than UAE and if we stay level headed and play to best of our abilities then we will do well. I will not take anything away from UAE but I back my side 110 per cent," said Williams.

The prize money for the winners in the ICC Intercontinental Cup is US$100,000 while the runners-up will pick up US$40,000. The winner of the ICC Intercontinental Shield will collect US$25,000 while the runners-up will win US$10,000.

Notes to editors:

Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event then evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.

This year's format includes seven teams (Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, Scotland and Zimbabwe XI), while the new competition, the ICC Intercontinental Shield, involves the four teams below that, namely Bermuda, Namibia, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.

Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in all three events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider, Canada in the 2006-07 event and Namibia in 2007-08.

ICC Intercontinental Cup squads

Afghanistan: Nawroz Mangal (captain), Karim Sadiq, Asghar Stanikzai, Hamid Hassan, Samiullah Shinwari, Shapoor Zadran, Shabir Noori, Shehzad Mohammadi, Aftab Alam, Batin Shah, Abdullah Mazari, Mohammed Nabi, Mirwais Ashraf, Mohammed Sami Agha, Afzar Zazai, Najeeb Zadran, Gulbodin Naib, Khaliq Dad Noori

Scotland: Gordon Drummond (captain), Kyle Coetzer, Neil McCallum, Richie Berrington, Majid Haq, Fraser Watts, Simon Smith, Gordon Goudie, Ross Lyons, Preston Mommsen, Matthew Parker, Gregor Maiden, Ryan Flannigan, Stuart Chalmers

ICC Intercontinental Shield squads

Namibia: Craig Williams (captain), Raymond van Schoor, Ewald Steenkamp, Sarel Burger, Gerrie Snyman, Louis Burger, Bjorn Kotze, Tobias Verwey, Kola Burger, Louis Klazinga, Bernhard Scholz, Louis van der Westhuizen, Nicolaas Scholtz, Chris Viljoen

United Arab Emirates: Khurram Khan (captain), Mohammed Touqir, Abdul Rehman, Arshad Ali, Ahmed Raza, Saqib Ali, Amjad Ali, Swapnil Patil, Naeemuddin Aslam, Qassim Zubair, Amjad Javed, Shoaib Sarwar, Shaiman Anwar, Aamer Ali, Nizel Fernandez, Arfan Haider, Riyaz Khaliq, Manjula Guruge

Members of the media wishing to attend the Intercontinental Cup final between Scotland and Afghanistan from the 2-6 December at Dubai Sports City Stadium or the Intercontinental Shield final between UAE and Namibia to be held from 2-5 December at the ICC GCA are requested to email lucy.benjamin@icc-cricket.comno later than 1 December in order to be accredited for the matches.

If you would like to receive daily updates from both finals please email chandresh.narayanan@icc-cricket.com

The media guide for the ICC Intercontinental Cup and the ICC Intercontinental Shield can be viewed here

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