Cricket could combat terrorism
Karachi - Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has proposed a one-day series between his country and Afghanistan as a way to help combat the threat of terrorism.
"Both countries have been badly affected by terrorism and a cricket series between them can serve as a reminder to the people that they must fight this threat together," Latif told Reuters on Wednesday.
The former wicketkeeper, who played 37 tests and 166 ODIs before retiring in 2003, spoke after returning from Kabul after starting a new job as Afghanistan's batting coach.
He will accompany the team to Scotland on a training tour this month.
The two countries have faced a wave of Taliban militia attacks in recent years that have killed thousands of people.
A militant attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March 2009, in which six Pakistani policemen were killed and five visiting players wounded, led to the suspension of international cricket in this country.
Pakistan lost the right to host 14 matches of the 2011 World Cup after the attack.
"Terrorism has also hit our sports badly and I will request the Pakistan board to host the Afghanistan team for a one-day series later this year," Latif said.
"I am confident that it will eventually pave the way for the return of international cricket to Pakistan."
The former captain said he enjoyed his coaching assignment in Afghanistan and saw plenty of cricket potential in the war-ravaged country.
"The enthusiasm and skill level of the players in Afghanistan is amazing considering the problems they have been through in recent years," Latif said.
Afghanistan raised their standing in international cricket despite the odds last year when they beat the Netherlands in their first first-class win, at a tournament for non-test playing associate nations.
They reached the final stages of the qualifiers for the 2011 World Cup although they did not go through.
Afghanistan also competed in the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean before being eliminated by South Africa.