For most international cricketers, a tough day at the office involves avoiding overzealous fans and dodging traffic to and from training sessions.

For many of the members of the Afghanistan World Cup squad, everyday life on the streets of Kabul is still very different.

On the eve of New Zealand's historic World Cup clash between the countries in Taunton, former Black Caps coach Andy Moles has shed new light on the challenges the Afghans face - including having to vary their daily routines to avoid kidnappings and being late for practice sessions due to public hangings.

"It is a war zone, there are tanks and military vehicles up and down the streets all the time," Moles told Radio Sport's Jason Pine.


"A player was late for practice one day and I tore into him because he had a bit of a habit for bad timekeeping and then at the end of it I asked 'why are you late today?' and he said 'well they blocked the streets off today because in the night one of the special forces soldiers had been hung on the lamp post as a signal to the locals not to be friends with the Americans or any of the special forces."

The Englishman, whose brief time at the helm of the Black Caps ended in October 2009, led Afghanistan at the 2015 World Cup and is now the country's chief development coach, tasked with nurturing future stars.

Andy Moles had a brief stint as coach of the Black Caps. Photo / Photosport
Andy Moles had a brief stint as coach of the Black Caps. Photo / Photosport

"These guys see horrific things in their lives and the sad thing is it becomes normal for them to experience these sort of things in their day to day life.

"Most of the stuff happens in the morning though, in peak traffic, so I try not to travel at peak times and vary my routes as one of the biggest issues these days is kidnapping.

"You have to make sure you're travelling different routes every day at different times of the day so you don't become an easy target, try and be smart and think on your feet.

"Is it a bit hair-raising at times but it becomes the norm ... it's not ideal but when we see these people and the passion and how eager they are to get better so it's very rewarding."

For a lot of the boys he works with, cricket is the only way to a better future, Moles says.

"Everywhere you look in street corners or on a bit of land you see the kids playing what they call 'tennis ball cricket' which is a tennis ball with tape around it and it can be up to 100 people watching these games so it's ingrained in them.


"It's a way they can better their lives."

Afghanistan, now coached by former West Indies batsman Phil Simmons, have suffered back-to-back defeats at this year's World Cup - to Australia and Sri Lanka - but have looked dangerous at times.

The prospect of world-class spinner Rashid Khan on what is expected to be a turning Taunton track, however, the tournament minnows could be a threat.

"When they play, they wear their hearts on their sleeves, you see their individual passion and their will and want to do well is obvious. We need to be playing against better, stronger opposition not just always staying within the cricket in our area and we are trying to expand the programme so they can learn better," Moles said.

"For the younger players, it's to learn from the experience and just keep enjoying the game. New Zealand is probably too smart for them at the end of the day but just for them to keep competing."