Work on the 650 sq m Academy building at Kabul Stadium started in the middle of last year and construction has been so rapid that in April it will welcome the best young cricketers from all over Afghanistan as well as an Australian. Peter Anderson, 52, former national coach of Papua New Guinea, Queensland first-class cricketer and still playing 2nd XI Grade cricket, has been appointed as Afghanistan’s National Academy Coach. “We have been tracking him for some years and have been very impressed by his record with PNG and his ability to develop talent,” says Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Dr. Noor Muhammad, “he will help us very much in implementing our strategy to create a line of cricketers who can compete at the highest levels.”

“It’s a challenge no doubt,” says Peter Anderson speaking from the Gold Coast, Australia, “but it’s a job I’m going to enjoy being really involved in and after I get to Kabul on April 15 time is going to be spent on getting to know the players, establishing relationships and working with the talent there is. I and a lot of others have been so impressed with what we’ve seen from Afghanistan and for me it’s just a matter a maybe adding 10% to their game, getting the batsmen to handle those first 10-15 overs a little differently,” says the engaging coach. “It’s the small things at those critical times that come with making smart decisions that make such a difference. It’s pretty simple actually, if you play better cricket, you become better cricketers.”

Peter Anderson
Peter Anderson’s helming of Papua New Guinea is a case in point, having moulded a team of leg-side hitters with good arms into a team of disciplined batsmen and outstanding fielders who finished fourth in the recent ICC World Cup 2015 Qualifier, securing ODI status. East Asia Pacific Regional Project Officer Adam Cassidy says that “Peter’s going to offer something a little bit different to other coaches, he’s been brilliant at creating a clear structure with a pathway for players to come through. His strength is being able to adapt to different cultures, and in the way he takes a different approach to different players he gets the best out of them. There are a lot of good coaches around the world but the ability to connect emotionally with the players is what really sets Peter apart, he moulded a set of talented PNG cricketers and took them to a different level”

Like PNG, Afghanistan have almost outgrown their regional structure and the ACB in realising this have created this National Academy as well as set in motion plans to recruit coaches, just as with the Test-playing nations, who can support the national coach. “We are hoping to find a long-term resident specialist batting consultant and are currently running interviews,” says Dr. Noor, “our aim is to perform very well in the 2015 World Cup and Peter Anderson’s knowledge of conditions in Australia and New Zealand also make him very helpful.”

Afghanistan on the way to beating Bangladesh in the Arise Asia Cup 2014

Peter Anderson actually has five cricketers of Afghan origin with him at his club on the Gold Coast at present. “Afghanistan are an outstanding team to be working with, and I’m looking forward to doing all that I can to set them up for higher things. Getting the players to be the best they can be is what gives me the most satisfaction.” And Peter Anderson’s thoughts about living in Kabul for the next two years? “I’ve been in Port Moresby, which is a pretty hairy place. Looking forward to it.”

Afghanistan Cricket Profile
Afghanistan Cricket Board Annual Report, page 32 has an outline of the National Academy

Filed March 12th, 2014