Pakistan great Younis Khan believes UAE can help Afghanistan 'rise' in world cricket

Former captain has been part of Afghanistan's training camp at Abu Dhabi Cricket

Younis Khan has been working as a batting consultant with the Afghanistan cricket team in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Abu Dhabi Cricket
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Younis Khan has praised the UAE for its role in supporting Afghanistan cricket after the Pakistan great spent the past three weeks with the team during a training camp in Abu Dhabi.

Having been first approached by the Afghanistan Cricket Board for a coaching position during his playing days, Younis joined the squad for their 23-day camp at Abu Dhabi Cricket as a batting consultant.

Few players in world cricket are more familiar with the UAE than Younis. The Emirates hosted Pakistan's home series for more than a decade following the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, which led to a lengthy exile of cricket tours to the South Asian nation.

During Pakistan's time in the UAE, the team climbed to No 1 in the ICC's Test rankings for the first time in their history, with Younis among the key players.

Younis, 44, is hopeful the UAE can now provide similar support to Afghanistan as the team continues to establish itself in the global game.

"Thank you to Abu Dhabi Cricket and UAE cricket; they're helping Afghanistan cricket," the former Pakistan captain said. "They were helping the Pakistan cricket team for long periods of time, now Afghanistan. So, I hope the bonding is there and it's my wish that UAE and the Afghanistan Cricket Board gel together, they help each other, and they rise together."

Younis said that Pakistan were able to enjoy so much success while based in the UAE because of the many similarities between the two countries, and believes the same can apply to Afghanistan.

"Sometimes it's hard to play out of your country on a regular basis, but the good thing about Abu Dhabi and UAE is that at least you'll find some of your own people here and the conditions – especially the weather and the pitches, the grounds, the facilities – are similar to Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's like they're playing almost in their home conditions."

Afghanistan's visit coincided with the start of Ramadan, and Younis said that spending the Holy Month in the UAE has helped bring the group together.

"The holy month of Ramadan provides much bonding for the team because you have Iftari and then you have Sehri," he said. "You pray together so these kinds of things are good for the team and, especially if you're away from home, you need this kind of bonding."

Updated: April 28, 2022, 9:25 AM