Whatmore back on familiar ground


Talk about a cricket coach who specialises in the subcontinent and Dav Whatmore immediately springs to mind.
He was the coach of Sri Lanka when they won the World Cup in 1996. He was guiding Bangladesh when they beat India to make the quarterfinals of the 2007 World Cup.
He played a crucial role in moulding the India U-19 team led by Virat Kohli that won the U-19 World Cup in 2008, and now he is in charge of a Pakistan team that is looking to find its feet yet again.
In between, there was an unsuccessful two-year tenure with Kolkata Knight Riders, but all that is history now.
In the here and now, Whatmore is the first one to enter the Pakistan nets at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium and after a gruelling three-hour session, will be the last one to leave.
“He is really a professional. He knows what coaching is all about. We are enjoying the stint under him,” former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi told TOI after a practice session on Tuesday.
Whatmore has merely been a week into the Pakistan job and Afridi is already feeling the difference. “He is having some very productive sessions with us. I am sure he will be able to recreate the success that he has done with other teams,” Afridi added.
The Australian himself is jolly and jovial, as usual. Not too many coaches would have come to Pakistan in the present political situation, but Whatmore knows this is his playground. He knows how things work in the subcontinent and is ready to complete a rare circle in a coach’s life that started way back in the mid-90s when he took over as Sri Lanka coach.
“It feels good. But now my team is Pakistan and we have got some decent cricket brains in the team. My objective is to interact with them and pick the right combination which will make us a competitive side,” Whatmore had said ahead of the Asia Cup.
The 57-year-old Aussie has worked with different teams and feels this Pakistan side “has the right blend of youth and experience that is essential to be successful”.
“We have done well in Tests against England but things didn’t go well in ODIs. Here, our objective is to win,” the coach added.
Even as he says “I don’t look back too often, I look forward,” the Aussie probably has a special place in his heart for Bangladesh, the venue for the Asia Cup.