Former Sri Lanka captain quoted as advising PCB against hiring him July 10, 2007

Whatmore's surprise at Ranatunga 'criticism'

Cricinfo staff

Whatmore is surprised by Ranatunga's comments © AFP

Dav Whatmore has expressed surprise and disappointment at reports that Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lanka captain, has advised the PCB against hiring him as their next coach.

According to PTI, Ranatunga had a chance encounter with Talat Ali, the Pakistan manager, in Scotland recently. When asked for his thoughts on Whatmore as an option, given that the two had worked together extensively and led Sri Lanka to their 1996 World Cup triumph, Ranatunga reportedly offered the advice that Whatmore should be avoided.

"I don't know what his motivations were but he is entitled to his own personal views and I have no desire to get dragged into a public argument with him," Whatmore told Cricinfo.

Whatmore was one of three Australians shortlisted by the Pakistan board for the coaching position, lying vacant since the death of Bob Woolmer in March. Geoff Lawson, the former Test fast bowler, and Richard Done, the ICC's High performance manager, are the others.

"The facts are that I have indicated my desire to coach Pakistan and, if appointed, I am confident of being able to do an extremely good job with a very talented group of players," Whatmore said.

Kumar Sangakkara, who made his debut while Whatmore was in charge, endorsed his credentials to be the Pakistan coach. "I have absolutely no doubt that Dav is exactly the kind of coach Pakistan needs right now," Sangakkara told Cricinfo.

"He has the expertise and the experience, including a World Cup win, the pinnacle of coaching success. I count myself as very fortunate to have broken into the national side with him as coach. It helped me to hone the right attitude towards hard work and getting out of my comfort zone that has stood me in good stead ever since," he said.

Ranatunga's advice comes on the back of increasing chatter within Pakistan that Whatmore may not be the favourite he once was for the position. Some of the players, especially senior ones, are said to be more keen on Geoff Lawson, wary of Whatmore's reputation as a no-nonsense taskmaster. According to the PTI report, Talat Ali has also given Lawson his backing.

The board, however, is refusing to say anything other than each candidate was impressive and that a final decision will be taken soon. Though Nasim Ashraf, the board chairman, has repeatedly said a decision would be made by July 1, it looks likely that one will be taken at the next meeting of the board's ad-hoc committee, in the middle of the month.