Keen to provide NCA with proper direction October 22, 2007

'I want to start as soon as I can' - Whatmore

Dav Whatmore: eager to set the ball rolling © Getty Images

Dav Whatmore, the former Australian batsmen who has tasted success coaching subcontinent teams, can't wait to start his latest assignment with the National Cricket Academy in India (NCA).

Whatmore recently accepted an offer from the Indian board to serve as the director of operations in the NCA. Eager to get on with the job, Whatmore, who arrived in Mumbai on Saturday evening, is set to visit the Bangalore-based NCA sometime this week.

Though Whatmore is yet to sign his contract, which runs for three years, he reckons it's "just a formality and should be done shortly".

"I've arrived here for good now and want to start as soon as I can," Whatmore told Cricinfo at the Cricket Club of India. He is being accompanied by his wife Catherine, who will be in the country for a few days before she heads back to Australia.

Whatmore will be entrusted with giving a proper direction to the NCA, an academy which has been in existence for seven years but has turned stagnant recently with no proper guidance at the top. Whatmore plans to begin his stint with a series of meetings with former Indian batsman Ravi Shastri, the newly-appointed chairman, whose idea it was to call up Whatmore for the vacant post.

He will also meet some of the BCCI administrators, including chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty. After making a trip to Bangalore to get his first sighting of the academy, he will make a trip to Ahmedabad to watch the Challenger Trophy, the country's premier one-day competition.

Whatmore said he wanted to use the opportunity to get an idea of the country's talent pool. "If I want the best 20 who are potentially Indian international cricket players, then they'll be playing the tournament, won't they? So, it's in my interests to visit [the Challenger series] and I'm keen to go."

Whatmore oversaw Sri Lanka's rise in the mid '90s - seeing a side with varied talents develop into a cohesive unit - and guided them to the 1996 World Cup title. Apart from two stints in Sri Lanka, Whatmore has also coached Lancashire in the English County Championship, and Bangladesh, whom he groomed into a fighting one-day unit. He guided them to the Super Eights in the recent World Cup but decided not to renew his contract when it expired a month later.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo