Dean Jones recalls ‘cloudy’ Hong Kong Sixes past and says Afghanistan need to ‘inflict some pain’ in four-day game
The former Australia test batsman is impressed by the talent of his new side ahead of four-day Intercontinental Cup clash
Former Australia test batsman Dean Jones is no stranger to Hong Kong, having waded his way through a host of “cloudy” Cricket Sixes first as a player and then as a commentator.
Now he is here as interim coach of Afghanistan as they look to kick-start their charge towards test cricket in their four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup clash with Hong Kong later this week.
“Let’s say it’s been clouded over the two days,” Jones said about his memories of Hong Kong Sixes past.
“Sadly I can’t do it this year, I’ve been away for three months and I have to go home. It was good fun, I remember the big crowds having a bit of fun and they hit the ball miles.”
Jones took over the role of interim boss of Afghanistan just last week and said his side must “inflict some pain” on Hong Kong to prove they are ready for their recently awarded test status, which will kick in from January.
“The Hong Kong boys better be ready because they are serious cricketers and they have got serious talent,” said Jones, who was recently in Afghanistan to commentate on the Shpageeza Twenty20 tournament.
“It was mind-boggling how good their talent was in the Shpageeza cricket league. It’s about starting reputations, they’re out to hurt now.
“They can’t come here and get belted up by Hong Kong and think they are going to do well against someone else. They need to inflict some pain.”
Jones highlighted slow bowler Rashid Khan and batsman Asghar Stanikzai as two players who have impressed him so far and he feels Afghanistan have the potential to be competitive at test level sooner rather than later.
“Come January they are a test playing nation and it’s a really exciting time for them. They have just got to get their fitness right and work on their fielding skills,” he said.
“They have got some of the best spinners in the world, they have just got to fix up their batting and catching and they are well on the way.”
It has been suggested Jones could take on the coaching role full-time and he is open to the idea, should he be able to juggle his commentating and business interests.
“I’d like to get into full-time coaching but it is just a matter of working in an interim job at this stage,” Jones said.
“They are looking for a head coach and I’ll be doing a full report on them from a personal to a team basis.”
“They have got a lot of cricket coming up, there’s the ICC test world championship coming up and they have got World Cup qualifying in March, so these guys are ready to go.”
Despite his involvement in Asia, Jones maintains a keen interest in Australia’s fortunes, who he played 52 tests for, and he will be keeping a close eye on the upcoming home Ashes Series against England.
“It will be interesting to see what type of pitches we prepare,” he said. “If there is a bit in the air and the ball swings around, I think there might be a problem for some of our guys. But we haven’t been beaten at home for a long time.”