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AFGHANISTAN FACE LONG PERIOD OF INTERNATIONAL DOWNTIME

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Afghanistan will have to wait till June next year for their next international assignment against a Full Member, when they travel to the West Indies. Neither of the teams will be part of the Champions Trophy, which will also take place at that time of the year in England.

In the interim, Afghanistan will take part in a training camp at home, play in this season's Ahmad Shah Abdali four-day domestic tournament and wait for confirmation on a T20 tournament in Dubai involving other Associate nations. They also are scheduled to host Ireland at Greater Noida for three T20s, five ODIs and a four-day Intercontinental Cup match in March.

Afghanistan's manager Abdul Wali Amin said that coach Lalchand Rajput wants to focus on fitness during the camp to be held from mid-November.

"We don't have anything from now till December," Amin said. "Maybe next year there's an Associate T20 series in Dubai. The [domestic] four-day tournament started on September 29, and it will go on for more than two months. The national players will need some rest having been on the road for the last three months but, after that, they will have a month-long camp from mid-November. The coach wants to work on their physical fitness, which is very important. They will also work on their fielding and skills development."

He said that an increased number of qualified coaches are helping Afghanistan cricket improve rapidly, and that focus is also being put on having more of these coaches in charge of representative sides.

"We have four or five Level 3 coaches currently in Afghanistan. It really helps us promote cricket, especially Under-19 and A team. We have local coaches as assistants in the national team as well. It helps us to promote our own coaching staff.

"We have enough Level 2 coaches as well. We also have good umpires and physios, and all of it is for Afghanistan cricket to improve."

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai said that his team will take the experience from the short trip to Bangladesh and apply it when they next play a top-level team.

"We have learnt a lot from this series. It was very important series for us. Playing against Zimbabwe [in Zimbabwe and in the UAE] and Bangladesh has provided us with the opportunity to see how we can play against the Full Member nations. It helps us promote our cricket and get familiar against Full Members.

"I think we played very well against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. They have beaten a lot of big nations. So hopefully we will have a series against West Indies in June and taking this experience we will be prepared for West Indies."


Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.



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