India job logical extension to bigger challenges: Whatmore

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali


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Dhaka : Dave Whatmore, who has been tipped to be the Indian cricket team's next coach, said here Monday that he has not heard anything from the board after meeting its officials in Chittagong recently.

"I've got to be guarded. I am not the Indian cricket coach. The speculation has been positive. I've had a discussion (in Chittagong May 19-20)," Whatmore told reporters here, a day after India defeated Bangladesh in the second Test to win the series 1-0.

"They (Indian board) are going to make a decision on June 4 and until that is done, it is pure speculation," he said, after finishing a four-year contract with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking for a new coach after the two-year contract of Greg Chappell expired.

Former India Test player Ravi Shastri was the interim coach for the just concluded Bangladesh tour. India won the ODI series 2-0 before the Test series triumph.

A Sri Lanka born former Australia Test player, Whatmore said that he naturally needed bigger challenges after guiding Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996 and then switching over to coaching Bangladesh.

"It is a logical extension to a bigger challenge after continuing to accumulate a lot of knowledge in cricket coaching," said the man who played seven Tests and one ODI in 1979-80.

"After four years you need a different challenge. You need to recharge your batteries, and to do a better job you need to move on. I think the time was correct there," he averred.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had also approached Whatmore, but he does not seem too interested in replacing their late coach Bob Woolmer.

"The Pakistan issue was more or less low key. It wasn't so great," he said.

"It has been overwhelmingly fantastic to be thought of by the cricket boards of those two cricket countries. I am very humbled and very grateful that people think that way of me. It's best to be left at that."

Asked if he would again accept the Bangladesh coach's job if offered, Whatmore said his doors were always open for them.

"It's a revolving door. For Bangladesh, the doors are always open. I'm leaving in the happiest possible way. Life is too short," he said.

Reflecting on his experience with the Bangladeshi team, Whatmore admitted that his initial years were frustrating.

"Maybe, I didn't realise the gravity of the situation when I came in 2003. To truly understand the situation it took a bit of time. In the early years there was a bit of frustration because the team wasn't winning."

Under Whatmore, Bangladesh recorded their lone Test win so far – over Zimbabwe in January 2005. In 46 Tests, Bangladesh have lost 40, won one and drawn five.

Bangladesh also stunned Australia in June 2005 in a One-day International. Then they also beat India in a group match in the recent World Cup to enter the second round where they defeated South Africa.

"It took some time to group them together and formulate the sorts of players who win matches," Whatmore said.