It was a mistake to field first, regrets Whatmore

Published: Friday, May 25, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Dhaka:In his last assignment as Bangladesh coach, Dav Whatmore said they had misread the pitch in electing to field in the second Test against India here today.

Talking to the reporters after the opening day's play, he said, ''Yes, we misread the pitch. If we had known the ball would behave the way it did today then we would have batted first.'' ''We do talk (with Bashar). There is a selector, the captain, the vice-captain and it was a decision based on input from a number of people,'' he added.

Asked whether he regretted the decision, the outgoing coach said ''There is a reason to regret. Obviously if we would have known that the wicket was going to behave like that then we would not have elected to field first.'' ''We knew what the conditions were overhead but not on the ground. We thought it would be a little bit more advantage bowling first in the first session, but it didn't, it didn't work out,'' he added.

About home advantages for the hosts, he said, ''Maybe if we had batted first. It was very difficult condition, very trying conditions for players from both the teams.'' India scored 326 on the first day with no batsman out. Both the openers, Wasim Jaffer retired on 138 and Dinesh Kaarthick retired on 82. Skipepr Rahul Dravid was batting on 88 with Sachin Tendulkar on 9.

Should we play in such conditions? ''It is easier to make a comment now. Again it comes back to the scheduling issue. You try and get the games with other countries. It is a very tight schedule, not a lot of room to move in this calendar year. If India was to come to Bangladesh this year, this was the only time they had.''

Asked about the plan for the second day, he said, ''It will be even harder for them (Bangladesh bowlers) tomorrow. They are just going to have to prod along and do the best they can. It looks like trying to get 10 wickets will be very, very hard to achieve.

What we must try and do is to bat well in the first innings.'' Regarding his interaction with BCCI, Whatmore said, ''I just want to say and even the Indian Cricket Board said last week that they met me for 10 minutes, that's all I will say.'' Coming back to the Test match, he said, ''It's a real test of character. These conditions really test your character. Its not easy as we have seen today, it's very difficult.''

On whether he was a defensive coach, he said, ''The first Test match is quite easy to explain. Bangladesh is ranked 10th in the world, they had 250 to chase and with the number of overs available it was quite steep.'' ''This type of wicket is a surface you get from time to time and you need to play as well as you can on it. If you are a batsman you would like it, if you are a bowler it will be difficult. The Bangladeshi batsmen will have a chance tomorrow to see whether they can get stuck on it as well,'' he added.

Do you think you can also bat well and try for a draw? ''We are hoping that we can remain for a while.'' He also praised Wasim Jaffer, saying ''He was very good, very controlled, terrific, lots of concentration.'' On flooring of two catches, ''It is something that people could overlook a lot. Catches really make a difference. When we are desperately unlucky with an issue it does help, it gives you the boost in such conditions.''


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