Tuesday, May 15, 2007
What more do we want?
With Western Australia signing up Tom Moody, and John Buchanan having already thumbed his nose at India, that leaves Dav Whatmore as the last one standing for the job of India coach. Well, almost, because the board can surprise us by appointing somebody like Mohinder Amarnath, Sunil Gavaskar's favourite, despite his lack of any significant international coaching success. Sandeep Patil, who took Kenya to the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup, would be a more credible choice, but I think an Indian coach would have the added burden of having his decisions seen through the prism of parochialism. I've always felt Whatmore's the best candidate, and who knows what might have been if he had taken over from John Wright. Now it's a much more difficult task to rebuild this team, but Whatmore can draw on all his experience in the sub-continent, first the fantastic one of helping Sri Lanka get the World Cup, and now the equally remarkable one of forcing the big teams to take Bangladesh seriously. The two experiences were different: in Sri Lanka, his job was to build on the proven talents of Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda De Silva and Muthiah Muralitharan to create a world beating outfit; in Bangladesh, it was the challenge of a start-up operation which began with basic processes which led gradually to a self-belief that they could compete, and win, at this level. Most of all, what sets Whatmore apart from other foreign coaches is that he seems to work well with spinners, and that's a strength that I feel we should again learn how to capitalise on. Of course, at the end of the day, any coach can only be effective to the extent he is empowered.