Whatmore comes up to expectations


When Pakistan’s cricket chiefs decided against retaining Mohsin Khan as national coach in spite of a string of victories, there were fears that a change in guard might upset a new-found harmony in the team’s dressing room. After all, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had chosen Dav Whatmore – known in the cricket world as a hard taskmaster – to replace Mohsin as Pakistan’s new coach ahead of this month’s Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
In the weeks that lead up to Whatmore’s appointment, a few senior players were quoted by PTI as saying that they were a bit uneasy over the idea of having a new coach at a time when Mohsin had succeeded in gelling the team well. But all of that seems to be a thing of the past as Whatmore and his colleague Julien Fountain – Pakistan’s fielding coach – have wasted little time in bonding with their charges. Pakistan’s Asia Cup triumph in Dhaka last week was certainly helpful for the Whatmore-Fountain partnership, which is already receiving favourable reviews from players and officials alike.
“It helps if your coach is a confident man,” Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan captain, told ‘Our Sources’ in an interview. “One of the many qualities that I’ve come to admire in him (Whatmore) is his confidence and the fact that he has a very positive approach towards everything,” he added. Afridi, easily the most experienced one-day player in Pakistan’s line-up, also hailed the former Australia Test cricketer for the simplicity of his plans.“Personally, I really like the way he comes out with simple and effective plans,” said the star allrounder, who described his new coach as a “good influence” in Pakistan’s dressing room.
“Whatmore is vastly experienced and I think all of us should make good use of his experience and expertise as an international coach,” he stressed.Whatmore, 58, played seven Tests for Australia. But it was his credentials as an accomplished coach that convinced the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to hire him as the national coach on a long-term basis. His biggest claim to fame is that Sri Lanka, then counted among the minnows, recorded a stunning World Cup victory in 1996 with Whatmore as their coach. Later, he also served as Bangladesh’s coach. “I think Whatmore is a very focused man with a lot of experience,” Intikhab Alam, the former Pakistan captain told ‘Our Sources’.“The best part is that he has quickly developed a good rapport with the players, who are giving us a good feedback about him. Same is the case with Julien (Fountain),” added Intikhab, who headed a PCB task team that chose Whatmore to succeed former Test pacer Waqar Younis as Pakistan’s full-time coach.
It’s a bit early to make a call on whether Whatmore will go on to become a success story during the rest of his Pakistan stint but the early signs are quite reassuring.Zaheer Abbas, the former Pakistan captain who was a member of the coach-finding committee, believes Whatmore’s biggest challenge will be to groom the country’s young players.
“Personally, the reason why I voted for Whatmore was my belief that after the spot-fixing scandal of 2010 we needed a really experienced man to lift the team. We had lost three of our leading players and needed to inject young blood,” he said referring to the trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, who were banned for spot-fixing last year.
“I thought Whatmore was the right man for the job because he had previously worked wonders with underdogs and could be entrusted with the job of putting our largely young team on the right path,” said Zaheer.


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