England’s Andy Moles has been appointed as Afghanistan’s director of cricket as well as the new chief selector.
The former Warwickshire batsman had previously served as the head coach for Afghanistan in 2014-15 while he also took charge of the team on an interim basis following the exit of Phil Simmons after the 2019 World Cup.
With former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusner having been appointed as the new head coach of the men’s team until the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have opted to move Moles up in the hierarchy.
Following Afghanistan’s dismal campaign in the World Cup in England where they lost all nine of their matches, Moles was appointed the head coach on an interim basis. The Englishman took charge of the team for their recent tour of Bangladesh where they registered their second Test win with a 224-run victory over the hosts at Chattogram.
Andy Moles appointed as Director of Cricket and Chief Selector.— Afghanistan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) October 3, 2019
Mr. Moles served as interim head coach of Afghanistan in the recently concluded tour of Bangladesh. He has a vast experience of over 25 years in the sport and is a Level-4 Coach as well. pic.twitter.com/Z7IXme4H9I
Under Moles’ stewardship, the Afghans also qualified for the final of the T20I tri-series in Bangladesh where they ultimately shared the trophy with the hosts after a washed-out final.
In his extensive coaching career, Moles has been at the helm for Hong Kong, Kenya, Scotland and most recently with New Zealand in 2009. He was in charge of the Afghanistan team for their 2015 World Cup campaign in Australia-New Zealand where their sole victory came against his former team Scotland.
Joe Root is eager to begin working alongside a new England coach, with Gary Kirsten still the firm favourite to succeed Trevor Bayliss.
Kirsten was initially thought to be out of the picture due to the touring demands of the job and his recently-agreed role with Welsh Fire in the Hundred, but the England and Wales Cricket Board have been willing to remove both hurdles.
England are open to allowing assistant coaches to take an expanded role to allow the top man a less prohibitive schedule and the ECB may be tempted to use a vacancy in the Hundred to appoint an aspiring English coach such as Marcus Trescothick.
Kirsten, who had a fine track record with South Africa and India, could be appointed as early as next week if talks continue to go smoothly, while two members of Bayliss’ backroom team – Chris Silverwood and Graham Thorpe – have shown interest in stepping up to the top job.
The experienced Graham Ford has also been linked, but reports suggest former England captain and current Surrey chief Alec Stewart has now withdrawn.
As Test captain, Root is not directly involved in the process, with director of cricket Ashley Giles in charge of making the appointment, but he has run the rule over the candidates and likes what he has seen.
“I’ve been made aware of who has been going in for interview and some of those candidates are really exciting. You look at the list and I’m thrilled with the names involved,” he said.
“There’s a lot of noise around certain individuals but the group have all done special things and could bring good things to English cricket. Ashley has got an exciting but difficult decision to make. That’s not my pay grade.
“The sooner the better but ultimately I think Ash is just desperate to make the right decision.
“One thing you always want from a new coach is a bit of energy and a slightly different way of going about things. Trevor did a brilliant job managing English cricket but I’m sure whoever comes in will want to put their stamp on it quite early.
“Personally I’m looking forward to Test cricket being slightly more of a priority than it has been for the past few years.”
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A fighting ton from South Africa opener Dean Elgar has kept the visitors in the hunt in their first Test against India at Visakhapatnam.
The left-hander’s superb century helped the Proteas overcome a horror-start which had seen them reduced to 39-3 at the end of play on Day Two.
Earlier, a maiden double ton from Mayank Agarwal and a free-flowing 176 from his opening partner Rohit Sharma had helped India to a mammoth score of 502-7 before the first innings was declared by skipper Virat Kohli.
Will the visitors be able to carry the fight further in the opening Test against India? Find out by following the ball-by-ball LIVE commentary from Vizag below.