Whatmore to coach Pakistan’s cricket team

Islamabad, March 3: Former Australian batsman Dav Whatmore, who coached Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 cricket World Cup, has reached Pakistan to sign a coaching contract with the country’s national team.

Whatmore will be Pakistan’s fourth foreign national coach after Richard Pybus, Bob Woolmer and Geoff Lawson.

After his arrival at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Pakistani eastern city of Lahore Friday, he was escorted to his hotel under very tight security. Media persons tried to talk to him but he remained silent and made no comment on any question raised to him.

He was highly appreciated and recommended as the right person due to his international record; guiding Sri Lanka to win the World Cup; grooming Bangladeshi team enough to reach the second round of the 2007 World Cup.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) advertised for the post of head coach last year after former coach Waqar Younis resigned due to personal and health issues, Xinhua reports.

Intikhab Alam, head of the PCB coaching committee, made it clear to the media that any contract with the Australian coach would only be signed after his meeting with the PCB Chairman Zaka Asharf, which is very likely Saturday.

According to sources, besides Whatmore, the PCB has also decided to have another contract with Julian Fountain as fielding coach. Fountain has also reached Lahore.

Soon after signing the contract, Whatmore, selection committee and captain Misbah-ul-Haq would discuss finalisation of the team for the upcoming Asia Cup.

PCB sources revealed that he has met captain Misbah-ul-Haq after his arrival at National Cricket Academy to discuss team selection matters.

Whatmore, 57, played seven Tests and only one One-day International match for Australia before becoming a successful coach.

He also applied for the slot in 2007 when Pakistan advertised for the job but at that time his Australian fellow Geoff Lawson was preferred over him.

After Younis’s resignation, PCB appointed their former Test player and serving chief selector Mohsin Khan as interim coach, who guided the team to win against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England. He produced some unexpected results especially by whitewashing English team in Test series by 3-0 last month.

In spite of all his efforts and results, PCB chairman Ashraf made it publicly clear that they wanted a proper and certified coach for the team as part of preparation for World Cup 2014.

Whatmore, on his first task, will go with Pakistani team to Bangladesh for a four nation Asia Cup scheduled to start March 11.

IANS