Simmons named Afghan coach

Simmons named Afghan coach

Former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons has been appointed coach of Afghanistan as the country prepares for its first Test match, it was announced Sunday.

The war-torn nation was awarded Test status in June, along with Ireland. Simmons will replace India's Lalchand Rajput, who donned the role for a year.  

The appointment was announced on Twitter by the Afghanistan Cricket Board.

Simmons, a  former opening batsman and medium-fast bowler, who retired in 2002, had previous coaching spells with Zimbabwe, Ireland and the West Indies.

He  will now join the Afghanistan squad in Dubai as they  prepare for a limited-overs series against Zimbabwe in Sharjah in February.

Afghanistan will play their first Test match against India, where they play the majority of their home games, although a date is  yet to be announced.

They are seen as having a promising future with a talented bowling attack led by 19-year-old Rashid Khan.

Rashid  has produced eye-catching performances in the world's top T20 leagues, most recently with a man-of-the-match display on his Big Bash debut for the Adelaide Strikers.

"I play cricket to bring victories for my country and to make Afghanistan proud on the world stage," he told AFP in an interview in October.

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