Is it really time for Dav Whatmore to go?

Published: March 2, 2013

Pakistan coach, Dav Whatmore. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s head coach, Dav Whatmore has suffered severe criticism at the hands of former players and administrators.

The former captain, Moin Khan recently showed his dismay at the performance of the national team in the Test series against South Africa.

Furthermore, this has opened up the debate on whether we need a foreign coach at all. Although this is a crucial topic, I will focus on the calls for Whatmore’s sacking.

I disagree on the timing of these comments.

While we drown ourselves in misery, it should not be forgotten that the tour is not over. Pakistan has yet to play a T20 and an ODI series in South Africa this month (the first match of the T20 series was washed out) and these comments would hurt whatever little morale and confidence that is left within the team camp and would put the team under unnecessary pressure. These comments will also undermine the position and authority of the coach himself.

I feel that South Africa has been a difficult country for visiting teams lately, though New Zealand was able to win the ODI series there earlier in January.

Much has already been written about the performance of the national team against South Africa and I will try not to repeat that here. On that note, we failed because of our batting, which traditionally has been Pakistan’s weaker suit.

This traditional weakness combined with the bowling attack that South Africa possesses left us with little room to wiggle. South African bowling line up has devastated many teams over the past few years especially in their own backyard, which is certainly the most difficult place for batsmen in the world, even for teams that have stronger batting line ups like India, Australia and Sri Lanka.

So Pakistan’s batting failure should not have come as a total surprise to anyone, and to blame the coach entirely for this is unfair.

A coach has to play the cards that he is dealt with. We do not have technically correct batsmen who can thrive in seamier friendly conditions and this is something that needs to be addressed at the grass root level.

On an international level, apart from minor adjustments, not much can be done about the technique. To expect Whatmore or for that matter any coach to do wonders for the technical correctness of the batsmen at the highest level is too much to ask for.

To address these problems we need to have a more advanced academic system that provides coaching at an earlier stage of development, before bad habits have not become concrete.

We also need to provide more opportunities for foreign tours. Especially for players playing under 19 levels and the A team, so that the batsmen can experience foreign conditions and can learn how to play there before they are exposed to them at the highest level.

Whatmore’s appointment came as a surprise last year after the interim coach Mohsin Khan had led the team to a 3-0 whitewash of the then World’s No1 team, England. However, his tenure has not been a complete failure with an Asia Cup win, a semi-final appearance in the World T20 and a 2-1 ODI win against India in India.

If we take out the 3-0 beating against South Africa from the equation then there is little to choose from. Calling for him to resign or be sacked in the middle of a tour is doing grave injustice to the national team.

A review of the performance should take place after the tour is over and mismanagement allegations are leveled during the series investigated, before any such step is taken.

I will defer in my judgment about Whatmore’s tenure till we play South Africa in the UAE. The UAE has been the site of Pakistan’s greatest triumph in the last few years; it is where we held South Africa to a draw and where the revival of the national team began after England’s tour of 2010, provided he is still there!

Read more by Dr Amyn here or follow him on Twitter @amynmalik

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

A Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of the MPH program at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He tweets @amynmalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • baba

    nice article. I am alos waiting for UAE series bw these two countries. It will be a real test for SA. our ex cricketers just start saying such stufff after one bad series. We just beat india in india , won asia cup, reached semi final of t20. give whatmore a complete tenure and we will see how it goes from there Recommend

  • MAG

    It really disgrace me when Pakistan`s team wins any match and people, stand side by side while chanting motto in the favour of team but when it loses occasionally then same people utter against them.Recommend

  • Que

    The entire selection team should be fired; Especially Iqbal Ucking Qasim!!!!Recommend