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Is Dav Whatmore jumping the gun?

India needs a coach hungry to take up the challenge and desperate for success, writes Atul Sondhi.

india Updated: May 30, 2007 01:40 IST

Interesting to hear so much inputs Dav Whatmore has to offer about cricket in general and Indian cricket in particular. After every few hours, one is coming across newspapers, websites and channels with Whatmore’s view on Indian team, decision making, and his own utility. But there is one thing, he seems to have forgotten amid all the drama.

One: If he has been selected

Well. Then keep mum. The board does not change its decisions in a hurry. Showing so much of interest, and self-promotion, can be self-destructive.

Second: If the decision is still in the pipeline

Then again, keep mum. The Board will never be in a hurry to take decision in his favour before the final deadline. Especially with Gavaskar looking not too enthusiastic about his ‘tactical inputs’.

Coaching Team India

Whatmore’s desperation to be the coach of a side as high-profile as India can be understandable. If one recalls, in 2005 the Sri Lanka board had postponed the decision to hire a coach till the battle between Moody and Greg for the coaching job of Team India had been settled. The job brings world-wide recognition, as well as moolah. Did not Moody recently exclaim that “Coaching in the sub-continent generates as much excitement as playing or even watching cricket?’’.

Good that Whatmore is desperate. India needs a coach hungry to take up the challenge and desperate for success. One can be sure that it is not all about money. It is also about self-respect.

Proud Australians

Defeats are unimaginable. So after successfully coaching Sri Lanka, constant humiliating defeats he suffered with a talented but raw team of Bangladesh must have unnerved even a coach of Whatmore’s caliber.

Even though a coach is only as good as his team, it does self-esteem no good if the team crumbles from even the best of positions. Even though Whatmore’s biggest success has been helping Bangladesh win the World Cup matches, the more important result for him would have been consistently winning Tests for Bangladesh. But his Test team was always the second-best against the biggies.

Familiarity with the Subcontinent

Steve Waugh had once famously said that if Australia wanted to win the series in India, they better got familiar with the culture and cuisine, and learn to love and enjoy things that are Indian.

Whatmore fits the description. With those heavy moustache and big belly, a little tanned Whatmore can at times be mistaken for a Chikan-tikka, Butter-nan loving Asian! He gives the impression of a guy at peace with himself. Someone who will be as comfortable with Lassi as with Scotch! He is the guy who has the caliber to be the part of the Indian culture, and be a

Advisor, not administrator

When Whatmore said captain is the boss, the Australian knew what he was talking about. It is not just about the blame game alone.

Having handled a team of veterans in Ranatunga and Arvinda de Silva, and having been in charge of Bangla boys for whom, the coach was God, Dav knows the difference.

You can not dictate terms to this Indian outfit. It is full of champions and stars. Agitations can happen and legislative questions might be asked if some important player is dropped! Probably Whatmore knows it too well. Nearly three weeks spent with Ravi Shastri in Bangladesh would have educated him enough, he if was not already!

The only problem for Whatmore, if appointed, could be what Allan Donald has pointed out about the not-too-great results of India and Pakistan. He writes that ‘’most of the players just want to go their own way and play as they like to. At the highest level, the coach’s word should be taken as final but it seems that there is a lack of discipline here’’.

Inculcating the discipline, if Donald is right, will be Whatmore’s biggest challenge. The policy of punishment will certainly not work as Greg must have realized by now. The only workable solution will be the policy of persuasion, of respecting the egos – egos, which are as much the product of talent, as of, hero-worship.

First Published: May 30, 2007 01:18 IST