Disappointed at the turn of events that led to the postponement of the Bangladesh series, Pakistan’s head coach Dav Whatmore has decided to shift his focus on training for the tour of Sri Lanka instead.
The Dhaka High Court issued a stay-order on the Bangladesh team’s visit to Pakistan for two limited-overs matches scheduled for the end of April. With a bleak possibility of staging the matches later, Pakistan players have earned a lengthy break ahead of their tour of Sri Lanka. Whatmore also expressed his surprise that the tour was postponed due to security apprehensions.
“I was born in Sri Lanka and lived through a civil war,” said Whatmore. “I’ve been living in Lahore for two months and have been moving freely. If I knew more areas in the city, I’d be moving around more as I don’t have any security issues here. As a foreigner, I will play my role to tell the outside world that Pakistan is safe.
“The country is starved of international cricket. There’s a lot of craze for the game and I saw it at the Super Eight Twenty20 Cup in Rawalpindi and then when the British universities team came to Lahore where the crowd tuned up in huge numbers.”
Whatmore also ruled out rustiness coming into play, hinting at an extensive training camp for the national players as well as the hunt to find promising bowlers. The Australian added that squad announcement was expected to be made in the first week of May after which the players will get ample time to fine-tune their skills for the tour of Sri Lanka.
Coaching panel to assess players for U19 World Cup
Meanwhile, PCB Director Intikhab Alam said that Whatmore and fielding coach Julien Fountain will supervise the players’ trials for the U19 World Cup that will take place in August.
“A total of 75 players will take part in the trials starting from April 27,” said Alam. “The trials will continue till May 4 in three phases. The idea is to show Whatmore and Fountain the talent as we’ll have to select a 30-player preliminary squad for the U19 World Cup.”
Alam added the camp of fast bowlers will also be held under supervision of the coach.
Whatmore hopes for PPL success
Pakistan head coach Dav Whatmore also hoped for the success of the Pakistan Premier League (PPL) being planned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The Twenty20 tournament, which is scheduled to take place in October, is expected to see the participation of international players and will be organised along the lines of the Bangladesh and Indian Premier Leagues.
“I think international players will come to play the PPL,” said Whatmore. “Once it is known to them that such an event is being organised, I am very much hopeful they will turn up in good numbers.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2012.