Moles: ‘Preparatory camp in Chennai helped massively’

The Afghanistan U-19 cricket team coach, who took charge three months ago, cherishes the historic U-19 Asia Cup win; he says that his wards have learnt to take responsibilities.

Andy Moles with the Asia Cup winning Afghanistan U-19 team in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

It is a milestone moment for Afghanistan cricket. As the young guns cherish their historic U-19 Asia Cup title victory — beating Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday — the team’s chief coach Andy Moles believes that the preparatory camp in Chennai helped them immensely.

Before travelling to Malaysia for the tournament, the Afghanistan colts had a training camp at the Sri Ramachandra Medical College (SRMC) campus. With the Tamil Nadu capital city having a similar weather condition like Kuala Lumpur, the camp was organised to help the players get accustomed to the conditions.

Read: Afghanistan drubs Pakistan to clinch U-19 Asia Cup title

And speaking to Sportstar on Sunday — a few minutes after his side’s historic win — Moles admits that the camp did set the tone for the tournament. “The camp in Chennai helped massively. That preparation was fantastic at the SRMC, a month ago. The facilities were excellent, the staff was supportive. Even though we had to shift to Greater Noida because it started raining heavily in Chennai, that camp helped us immensely,” Moles said.

After moving base, the U-19 players had a couple of practice games against the senior team. The seasoned coach admits that those games boosted the confidence of his wards. “We had a great success in Bangladesh, and that was very good. We worked really hard and the senior national side kindly changed their programme to play some preparatory game with us. The guys felt confident. They got to know what their roles were,” Moles said.

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Having worked as the coach of the senior team in the past, Moles made it a point to work hard in between the games. “In between the match days, we were working hard, exploring new ideas. That yielded result,” he said.

With teams like India and Pakistan in the fray, not many thought Afghanistan colts would do too much in the Asia Cup, but they maintained consistency to have the last laugh. “The players have learned to take responsibility. We hold each other to (our) plans and judge our success by how we fill in the roles assigned to each individuals,” Moles said.

The coach also feels that the young cricketers have learnt how to bat for longer hours. “In 50 overs cricket, you have got to understand that bowlers will throw challenges and it is important to bat for long. It was humid and we did not get off to a good start, but we did not lose wickets. The guys did not panic. That is a great thing,” Moles remarked.

Three months ago, Moles took charge of the U-19 team, and his target was to develop the standard at the junior level and identify young guns for international cricket. “It was a great challenge. There is immense challenge in Afghanistan and it needs to be directed,” Moles said.

The Asia Cup title has certainly given the young Afghans a chance to dream big, and now, they would be hoping to keep the momentum going in the U-19 World Cup next year.