Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) appointed Phil Simmons as the new Afghan National Cricket Team head coach on Sunday.
ACB Names New Coach for National Cricket Team
Phil Simmons, a former West Indian cricketer, has taken over the post left vacant when the ACB terminated the contract of Lalchand Rajput, barely three months after the former Indian batsman was appointed.
Simmons is to start his work as from January 8 and will join the Afghan National Cricket Team squad in Dubai as it prepares for the limited-overs series against Zimbabwe in Sharjah in February.
"We went with Phil because he understands our team," Shafiq Stanikzai, the ACB chief executive officer, said at a press conference on Sunday. "He has coached West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland - all these are teams Afghanistan will play in the World Cup Qualifiers. He is a good prospect."
He added that the ACB has also was able to implement its plan 95 percent and spent its budget accordingly. “In 2017 we were able to win all but one of the series we played,” Stanikzai said.
Atif Mashal, chief of ACB, said that they plan to build five stadiums and an academy in five zones of the country in 2018.
Simmons' immediate challenges will be on the limited-overs front. After the Zimbabwe series, which comprises two T20Is and five ODIs between February 5 and 19, Afghanistan will move on to the World Cup Qualifiers in March. Later in the year, Afghanistan will travel to India to play their inaugural Test, dates for which are yet to be finalized.
Simmons had also interviewed for the Bangladesh coach job earlier this month.
He was one of the three candidates shortlisted by the ACB, which conducted interviews over the past few months.
He eventually emerged as a favorite owing to his experience and success as head coach with Ireland and the West Indies.
Also in favor of Simmons was his stint as a coaching consultant with the Afghanistan team last year.
Simmons has coached Ireland, West-Indies and Zimbabwe. He will also lead the Afghan National Cricket team in the 2019 World Cup, according to ACB officials.