Afghanistan have appointed former Australian pacer Shaun Tait as their bowling coach with immediate effect for a period of five months. The 38-year-old will work alongside head coach Lance Klusener and his first assignment will be a T20I series against Pakistan, which will be played in Sri Lanka from September 1 to 5.
"There have been talks for a few months now about me possibly taking up the role. It eventuated because head coach Lance Klusener wanted someone else to oversee the bowling side specifically," Tait told ESPNcricinfo.
The former tearaway paceman is a level-two certified coach from Cricket Australia (CA) and has coached Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League and Bangla Tigers in the Abu Dhabi T10 league. He is also part of the Durham coaching set-up for this year's Royal London One-Day Cup. Tait now stays in London and won't be moving to Kabul but will travel with the team wherever they go.
Afghanistan have always been known for their spin-bowling attack. The likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are household names in white-ball cricket, while Zahir Khan and Qais Ahmad too are moving up the ranks quickly. And, Tait wants the Afghanistan fast bowlers to do the same.
"Everyone talks about Afghanistan's spinners, so one of the specifics of my role is to get people talking more about their fast bowlers. There is some improvement to be done and hopefully, I can add that side of things. With all the concentration on the spin, a couple of guys get picked to do the role at the death and they're gonna need some guidance. That's where I come in.
"There are some exciting guys like Naveen-u-Haq, who has clearly shown that, certainly at the death with his change-up deliveries... He is obviously not gonna be the only Afghanistan fast bowler who can do it. If someone like Naveen is doing well in the CPL and over here in the UK in the Blast, that means there's a future there for fast bowling.
"So I am looking forward to getting in there, working with guys like him, all the other fast bowlers, and including the spinners and learning more about the spin side."
In the 2021 T20 World Cup, Afghanistan are placed in Group 2 along with India, Pakistan, New Zealand and two qualifying teams.
Tait, who retired from all cricket in 2017, played three Tests, 35 ODIs and 21 T20Is for Australia and claimed 95 wickets. He took 23 wickets in the 2007 World Cup and ended the tournament as the joint second-highest wicket-taker.