India can usurp Australia, says Whatmore

Published: Thursday, July 22, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo:India can dethrone world champions Australia from the number one spot if they keep increasing their level of self-belief, according to Bangladesh coach Dave Whatmore.

Whatmore, who was the coach of the 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lankan team, said India was beginning to get the consistency that was essential to take them to the top position.

"I think they are the top force in world cricket, second only to Australia. It is just a matter of keep increasing your self-belief," said Whatmore.

Whatmore also felt that the self-belief would get a lift up if the Indians started delivering in alien conditions more consistently.

"India is just beginning to get the consistency. They are now starting to string together some victories abroad. It is a matter of increasing that consistency in your performance that will enable India to even hold number one position in world cricket."

Whatmore also does not find anything wrong in Rahul Dravid being asked to keep wickets in One-day Internationals even though he is now rated as the most consistent batsman for India in both Tests and One-day arena.

"In terms of achieving the team balance, he serves a purpose. You can argue about it anyway you like but we have to look at the success rate and it is not bad.

"The point is, you can strengthen one area and weaken another. It is not possible to be at the strongest in every possible area of One-day cricket."

The Bangladesh coach felt the awareness of the game was increasing because of the high-level technical support and it has taken the game a level up.

"The players are becoming stronger and fitter and the knowledge for the game is increasing. More players are able to field and protect the total. Even when the total is not big, most teams are very good at closing down and making it tough for the team batting second.

"Now you have players who can take risks and go up to 360 and 370 runs in Test cricket in a day. Players are becoming more multi-skilled."

Whatmore also offered an explanation on batters holding sway in international cricket these days.

"It has become more of a batters game but from the public point of view it is perhaps a better way to go. I can see it is going to be harder for the bowlers. You might get an odd wicket where the ball would seam around but generally, it is going to be harder for them. The economy rates are going to go up. That's the evolving game of cricket."

Whatmore is aware the progress of Bangladesh in recent times has not gone unnoticed in world cricket but his team was still not able to cross the finish line.

"If my team has not done well it is the same with every team in the subcontinent, lack of self-belief.

"The more you are comfortable in different surfaces you are required to play, the better you get in your cricket. The issue is how much you get to play on these surfaces to become good."

"We have not still beaten a team above us. May be we need to beat two or three to start believing in ourself," Whatmore said.

He also felt that Bangladesh had everything going for them to become a major cricket-playing nation and it was up to the cricket superpowers to do as much as they could to help them grow.

"I think the facilities are on right track now. There are rollers, covers and grounds after the Under-19 World Cup (held last year). We have the potential and very big sponsors. There is a huge interest and everyone wants to play cricket for Bangladesh.

"Cricket is much more visible now and it is followed in lot more ways. World cricket needs a very vibrant and strong Bangladesh and other potential countries. We need positive assistance rather than negative comments."

Whatmore, however, refused to single out any of Bangladesh as a future star and felt the top priority for his team was to translate potential into victory.

"I do not believe in individualising players. We need to keep great guard about it. The situation we are in the moment is that we are in the process of creating the stars. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka already have superstars and we are in the process of creating them. I believe what we are doing is right but it has to translate into victory."

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