Lahore: Afghanistan cricket team coach Kabir Khan on Sunday said that India despite being an influential cricket power in South Asia has done little to help Afghanistan move up the international ladder.
Kabir, a former Pakistan Test pacer who has now been working with the Afghanistan national team for last few years except for a short break, told PTI that the Indian Cricket Board could do a lot more for Afghan players.
"If you look at England they go out of their way to support the associate cricket nations in their region including Holland, Ireland and Scotland by allowing their players to play in their county and league cricket and helping them with coaching programmes," Khan said.
"In comparison in South Asia although they are four Test playing nations Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh we don't get that kind of support from them except Pakistan. India has the influence and money to do a lot for Afghanistan cricket if they want. But so far we are still waiting," Khan said.
He pointed out that the moment India starts providing proper support and encouragement to Afghanistan cricket, it would quickly move forward.
"There is a lot of passion for cricket in Afghanistan and they are good players but we suffer mainly because we don't have a domestic cricket structure. We don't get enough matches even in this region alone. Pakistan has supported us a lot but we still need support from the other cricket nations in this region particularly India," Khan added.
The Afghanistan team is in Pakistan to play a series of two ODIs and a T20 match from tomorrow at the Gaddafi Stadium here.
Khan said India needed to shed its psyche of looking at Afghanistan cricket as being similar to Pakistan cricket. "We are two different cricket playing nations. Pakistan supports us a lot but until India and other countries also push us Afghanistan will be very slow in making progress as a cricket nation," he said.
Khan has brought a 22-member squad to Pakistan, including many young players with the sole aim of giving them exposure and making available to them the top facilities and coaching expertise available at the National Cricket Academy here. The Test pacer said that Afghanistan was presently preparing for a tour to Scotland to play its ICC league series of a four-day match, two ODIs and a T20 match this year to help prepare for the 2014 T20 World Cup.
"Some of our players have now done really well and become proper professionals but they need more encouragement and we also need to find some young talent soon. Right now we are focusing a lot on improving our fitness and fielding skills. We want to play in the next 50 overs World Cup and make our presence felt there that is our target," he said.