Whatmore prescribes positive attitude for India

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Chittagong:After a successful initial discussion with Indian cricket manager Ravi Shastri on taking up the job of coaching Rahul Dravid's boys, Dav Whatmore said the need of the hour in the Indian dressing room is positive attitude and a feeling of reassurance.

Talking to UNI, Whatmore, who is largely tipped to take over as the coach of India, said, ''I had a short discussion with Ravi Shastri about taking up the job of coaching India and I have said in the affirmative.'' ''The discussion was basically to know how interested I am and we both were satisfied,'' Dav added without willing to divulge the details of the discussion.

Asked what he thinks the Indian team needed at this present moment, he said, ''I will not give out to the public what the Indian team needs at this moment before talking to the BCCI. It should be between the employer and the employee. But I think what we need is positive attitude and a reassurance among the boys.''

On how would he handle the stars of the Indian team, ''It's a question of man-management and how far one wants to take ones career forward and I have to deal with them individually if and when the time comes. Ravi Shastri has already said that the boys have a few years' cricket in them....so lets see.''

Asked how would he like to compare the era of John Wright to that of Greg Chappell when India has hit the rock bottom, he said, ''I am not the type to compare and contrast others and their achievements and failures. All I can say I am ready for the challenge if the opportunity comes. I am as much ready to sink my teeth into problems and find out a solution as the BCCI would want me to.''

Dav, who played for Victoria state and learnt coaching for four years in the Victoria Institute for Sports, when asked on his transition into such a successful coach, said, ''That is what made the difference in my coaching. I have learnt a lot in those four years and the education has really helped me become whatever I am today.''

On to something he has always been guarded in replying, Whatmore, when quizzed on the Pakistan cricket Board offer, said, ''Lets not talk about it. Lets say nothing happened. Pakistan would be an interesting proposition, but as of now I am still the Bangladesh coach.''

The six-member Indian selection committee, led by BCCI President Sharad Pawar and Secretary Niranjan Shah, is reportedly due to arrive here on May 19 to hold talks with Whatmore and finalise the deal.

As the topic entered into the star material of the Indian team, the Sri Lankan born Aussie was asked on how he handled stars. Dav said, ''I have had star material always. When I coached Lancashire the first season was a disaster, but the second season was the best the county had in their entire cricketing history. And mind you both the seasons they had nine of the England team players in the side and three overseas players who were stars too.''

''Then I took over Sri lanka. The team had players like Aravinda Silva, Arjun Ranatunga, Gurusinghe. They were big stars in their country. But I never found it difficult to handle them. It was most enjoyable to say the least.

''The best part is I did not worry much about the technical part with the senior players. What we tried to do was that the practice sessions were meaningful. The tactical part was taken care of. The team meetings were exciting and vibrant. I was not the only one talking. That's the whole idea,'' Whatmore said.

On what he did to transform Sanath Jayasuriya into a match winner and virtual destroyer of the opposition. ''I saw the balance of the side and asked Sanath and Kaluwitharana to go out be themselves. I told them don't worry we have five other batsmen who are all capable of hitting centuries. The pressure was off. Told them just be yourself and play as you like. And I told the team be prepared for two wickets for zero runs. It worked most of the times.''

What has been the most difficult part of coaching Bangladesh, Whatmore sighed, ''Coping with frustration of making repeated mistakes. Mind you they had a few good players when I took over.

But then they were mediocre and I had to cope up with mediocrity.

They were more reactive than being proactive.'' ''Putting the self belief in them...making them drive rather than being driven was the most difficult part. Now at the brink of my tenure I think I have given them the nucleus of the team in the younger boys who would carry their game forward. And I am happy about that,'' he said.

On whether the sub-continent culture helped him in any way, Whatmore said, ''Hugely. Coming back home after work and having the spicy curry. Respecting the elders and being a part of the family are things that have helped me understand the sub-continent better. I have grown up for eight years in Colombo and am a third generation Sri Lankan. It helps a great deal.''


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