Lalchand Rajput named Afghanistan head coach

Kabul: Former India cricketer Lalchand Rajput was on Saturday named the Afghanistan team's head coach, two days after he lost to Anil Kumble in the race for the India coach job. The 54-year-old replaces former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who stepped down in April to become the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector.

His first assignment is a tour of Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands in July and August. "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," Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Chairman Danish Nasimullah said in a statement. "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 Netherland tour," he added. According to ACB chief executive Shaiqullah Stanikzai, Rajput was chosen ahead of former Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf, former South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs and former West Indies fast bowler Corey Collymore.  The former opening batsman's name was reportedly recommended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). 

Rajput, who was in charge of the Indian team during its World T20 triumph in 2007 and the controversial tour of Australia in 2007-08, also served as the joint secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association.  Rajput becomes only the second Indian cricketer after Manoj Prabhakar (bowling coach of Afghan cricket) to coach the minnows.