Former India manager Lalchand Rajput named as Afghanistan Head Coach
The 54-year old pips South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs and Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf for the role.
Afghanistan Cricket Board have confirmed the appointment of Lalchand Rajput as head coach of the national team on Saturday. The former India batsman will replace Inzamam ul Haq who had vacated the post in April.
It is understood that BCCI had recommended Rajput’s name for the role even as numerous applicants from various parts of the world were also in contention. The 54-year old’s experience of working as team manager during India’s successful campaign in the 2007 World T20 made him pip the likes of Mohammad Kaif, Herschelle Gibbs, Mohammad Yousuf and Corey Collymore.
Afghanistan Cricket Board Chairman Danish Nasimullah stated, “Mr. Rajput has coached the Indian Under-19 Cricket side as well as the Mumbai Indians franchise in the IPL. His experience is a key asset for Afghanistan Cricket.”
He added, “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 the team for the Scotland, Ireland and Netherlands tour.”
Confirming the popularity of the job, Nasimullah enthused, “We have received several applications from all over the world. Lalchand Rajput and also Mohammad Kaif were shortlisted for the final round of interview. However, Rajput was selected by the selection committee.”
Depending on Afghanistan’s performances in the upcoming European tour, he could receive a 2-year contract. Rajput was pleased with his appointment and looked forward to working with a talented bunch of players.
Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, the Mumbaikar affirmed, “I am excited to work again with an international team. The challenge is to get Afghanistan into the top 10. They also don't have the Test status and so our goal would be to work towards achieving that in the long term.”
He will succeed Inzamam who is now Pakistan’s Chief Selector. Apart from stints with the India U-19 and ‘A’ teams, Rajput was also the coach of the Mumbai Indians in the 2008 IPL. The right-hand batsman had represented his country in 2 Tests and 4 ODIs from 1985 to 1987.