It was the day after the series between India and Bangladesh had concluded. The Dhaka Sheraton Hotel had loosened its neck tie, as it were. The Indian team had checked out in the morning. The officials had gone. It was a time to breathe easy.
For Dav Whatmore, it was time to step out of the elevator and at last discuss without guilt his possible, but by no means certain, move to India. He had been asked about it the entire three weeks of the tour. In the beginning, he enjoyed it, striking poses for Indian photographers, revealing bits of information to some reporters. But as the media's clamour increased, and as the Bangladesh Cricket Board (bcb) scoffed at his ethics, he retracted. "I have an assignment to complete with Bangladesh and it wouldn't be fair to talk about another team while I'm with another," became his line.
On Monday, he was no longer Bangladesh coach. And he could talk.
Excerpts from the chat:
On what made him want to coach India: To begin with, I'll reiterate that at this moment, I'm not the Indian coach. There has been a lot of speculation about my becoming coach. But the decision will be taken (by the seven-man coach selection committee) on June 4. I have had discussions with BCCI officials where I told them I was interested, but that's all there is to it.
I'm interested in coaching India because it will be a logical extension to bigger challenges. It will help to accumulate more knowledge of the game I love. I was with Bangladesh for four years and they wanted me to continue. But a coach has a shelf life. One needs a different challenge after a few years. I need to move on. We all change jobs.
On whether he made himself available for the job knowing fully well the tough time Greg Chappell had: I'm aware of it and I did think about it. When one goes into things one doesn't keep his eyes closed. My eyes are open. But I don't want to comment on Greg's methods. He is a fantastic person.
On his coaching philosophy: You have to realize that the players might wear the same shirt but as different. As a coach you have to realize that and create a happy environment. He cannot dictate. What works well for one does not necessarily work for others.
On who is the boss, the captain or the coach: Definitely, the captain is the boss. He is in-charge of the team. It's the players who make a coach. They are the ones who have to go to the battlefield. The coach creates an environment where the best in the boys comes out.
On whether the coach should have a vote in selection meetings: I had a vote in selection meetings in Bangladesh. But if you ask me whether I subscribe to that, I will say it depends on the situation in a particular country..
On how he'll handle the superstars in the Indian team if he does become the coach: It's about communication. A part of the coach's job is to be able to communicate differently with all sorts of players with the single aim of enabling the team to win. There sure will be a lot of superstars in India. It's a country which has a rich cricketing tradition. And one needs to create new stars so that people remain involved in the game.