Former Australia cricketer Dav Whatmore arrived in Lahore early yesterday morning to take charge of the Pakistan team, with this month’s Asia Cup his first assignment.
The Australian, who will become the fourth foreign coach to take charge of Pakistan, mentored Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup victory and impressed in his stint with Bangladesh that saw the team reach the second round of the 2007 World Cup.
Whatmore’s last assignment before joining Pakistan was the India Premier League where he coached Kolkata Knight Riders. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is yet to confirm Whatmore’s appointment. But, according to an official, the selectors called on the coach at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to discuss team selection for the Asia Cup, which will be played from March 11 to 22 in Bangladesh.
Whatmore will supervise the team’s short training camp in Lahore,expected to be held from March 4 to 6 at the Gadaffi Stadium. Meanwhile, Julien Fountain, who also arrived in Lahore yesterday, will take over from Ijaz Ahmed as the fielding coach.
Whatmore has proven track record: Alam
Meanwhile, Intikhab Alam, who headed the coach-hunt committee, remained optimistic of getting good results under Whatmore.
“Whatmore is a highly experienced coach and has strong credentials,” Alam told The Express Tribune. “The coach-hunt committee selected him because he has a proven track record and is very hard working.
“We are optimistic but improvements will not come overnight. The nation should be patient and give the new coach time to settle down and produce the desired results.”
He added that there will not be a bowling coach travelling with the team to Bangladesh with Whatmore keeping an eye on the bowlers as well.
Alam also termed the appointment of Fountain as crucial, calling Pakistan’s fielding the team’s weak link.
“Fountain has vast experience as a fielding coach. He has coached England and West Indies as well. He is a specialised coach and we are expecting significant improvement in this department.”
Alam confirmed that both coaches will get two-year contracts with the official announcement due tomorrow.
Junaid out with injury
Fast-bowler Junaid Khan will miss Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign due to a knee injury he picked during the T20 series against England. Junaid will be out of action for three weeks.
The selection committee is likely to name Pakistan’s squad for the Asia Cup today, according to an official close to the selection committee.
The committee, headed by Iqbal Qasim, met in Lahore, where they discussed team selection besides taking input from captain Misbahul Haq and coach Whatmore.
“Pakistan can play wonderful cricket. I am sure that they will listen and learn and benefit from Whatmore’s extensive knowledge of
“Whatmore has plenty of experience and proven track record. He is very hardworking coach and we expect improvement in team’s progress under him.”
“Whatmore will get the best out of the players and bring more discipline in the team. He’s not just experienced and skilled but very good at man-management too.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2012.
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