He has now taken on the task of helping Nepal climb the heights of international cricket, his first challenge being to ensure the nation’s qualification for the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
Whatmore was also the coach of the Indian ICC U-19 World Cup winning team in Malaysia in 2008, under Virat Kohli‘s captaincy. At that time he was also the Director of Operations at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. He knows Virat’s captaincy style and has seen it change and mature over the years.
Asked about the captaincy style of Ajinkya Rahane, who is captaining the Indian team currently on the tour of Australia, Whatmore who famously coached Sri Lanka to the 1996 ICC ODI World Cup title told TimesofIndia.com that Rahane’s approach is “totally different to Kohli’s”
“A big contrast in the way in which he (Rahane) approaches leadership. Kohli has enjoyed a lot of success; Rahane had instant success but he’s learning a bit more that it’s a tough game.”
(Getty Images file photo)
“It’s a series that has been really dominated more or less by the ball rather than the bat. Over time, Virat Kohli has proved that his captaincy and extra responsibility and leadership has done no harm to his performance,” said Whatmore told TimesofIndia.com.
The former Kerala coach also weighed in on the Sanju Samson conundrum in Indian cricket, saying the youngster perhaps needs a bit more “confidence” from the team management to excel in international cricket.
A player of immense talent and promise, Sanju has so far failed to back his IPL heroics at the international level.
He has in turn earned a reputation of a batsman who is susceptible to finding ways to throw away his wicket.
That criticism came to the fore once again when Sanju failed to convert any of his starts in the T20 series against Australia on India’s current tour, ending up with scores of 23,15 and 10.
The scores in fact were just a reflection really of how Sanju was guilty of gifting away his wicket rather than being outfoxed by the bowler. After all, he didn’t show any signs of discomfort or inability while facing the Australian bowling.
“Sad, isn’t it? He was given a few opportunities in Australia. He played some really good shots and then got out. He himself would be saying that he should be going on and doing a bit better in that (T20) format. But maybe he’s one that needs a little more time perhaps,” the highly respected coach further told Timesofindia.com.
Whatmore, who played seven Tests and one ODI for Australia between 1979 and 1980 knows Samson’s game well. He worked with Samson as the Kerala coach from 2017-18 until the 2019-20 season.
“The talent – nobody will question that. He’s (Samson) done it in the IPL, has got big scores. He needs to take that next step up in international cricket. Maybe he’s one that needs a little bit more opportunity and confidence from his fellow players and coaching staff as well. He himself would tell you that he would have preferred to grab that opportunity or two in the Australia series,” Whatmore further told TimesofIndia.com.
The ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy could end up being the platform that throws up a possible face-off between Samson and Jharkhand captain Ishan Kishan for a slot in India’s T20 squad for the England series as back-up keeper, with KL Rahul cementing his place as the first choice keeper-batsman in limited overs cricket for now.
Whatmore turned to coaching after a brief stint in international cricket and went on to become one of the most successful and talismanic coaches.
“Well it’s obviously good,” said Whatmore when asked to comment on how he feels seeing someone like Virat Kohli who he coached at the U-19 level enjoying so much success at the highest level.
“At the time he (Virat) was an U-19 player with a very confident approach, very physical approach. It’s good to be involved with these sorts of guys.”
“It’s nice to be involved with youth and it is nice to see a batsman like Kohli go ahead and take the world by storm. He is right on top of the world.” Whatmore told TimesofIndia.com.