Pakistan news March 4, 2012

Whatmore signs two-year deal as Pakistan coach

Dav Whatmore and Julien Fountain have signed two-year contracts with the PCB as Pakistan coach and Pakistan fielding coach respectively. Whatmore and Fountain had arrived in Lahore on March 2 but there had not been an official announcement regarding their appointment. On March 4, Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, and Intikhab Alam, the director of international cricket, formally announced that Whatmore and Fountain had been contracted by the board.

"I wanted the best coaches in the world for my team and I gave the task of finding them to the committee appointed to select a coach," Ashraf said at a press conference in Lahore. "They analysed all the candidates and they have found the best people for our team. I am happy to have Dav Whatmore and Julien Fountain as a part of our setup and hope they can ensure Pakistan always puts up fighting performances, whether we lose or win."

Whatmore, who has previously coached Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, has been linked with the Pakistan coaching job since December last year. Waqar Younis had quit the job after the tour of Zimbabwe in September and Pakistan were due to announce a coach after their tour of Bangladesh. However, the interim coach, Mohsin Khan, continued in the role for the England series. Meanwhile, Whatmore met with the PCB in January and has now been officially given the role of head coach. Fountain, who has been fielding coach of Bangladesh and worked with the PCB before, also met the PCB in January and travelled with Whatmore to Lahore on March 2.

Whatmore said his goal was to bring some consistency to the team and do away with the poor performances. "We want to be consistent. We don't want peaks and troughs," Whatmore said. "We want the team to be at a good level for a long period. When we're brilliant there will be peaks, but we want to still perform and win games when we're not brilliant. We want to eliminate the bad performances. But you can't do that by focusing on the result. You have to focus on the process."

The appointments come after Pakistan followed up their whitewash of England in the Test series in the UAE by losing 0-4 in the ODIs and 1-2 in the Twenty20 internationals. Whatmore said the performances had been disappointing but said he was more concerned with the future. "It was disappointing after the fantastic effort in the Tests. Everyone needs consistency and to at least put up a fight in games, even if you lose them. But I'm not looking too much at the past. We want to focus on what's coming up keeping in mind what's happened before."

Whatmore's first assignment is the Asia Cup, a one-day tournament also featuring India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He said Pakistan would need to select different teams for all three formats. Whatmore also made clear that though the eventual goal was to take Pakistan to the top of the rankings in all formats, it would take time.

"At the minute the team is ranked six [Pakistan are fifth in Tests and sixth in ODIs in the ICC rankings], so it will take time to get them to the top. To achieve anything you have to take small steps. We are focussed on those steps now rather than the ultimate goal.

Whatmore and Fountain have visited the National Cricket Academy in Lahore where former Pakistan fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz is working with the national team's bowlers.

Whatmore is set to cover the batting department for Pakistan while Fountain will concentrate on fielding. Aaqib Javed, the former Pakistan fast bowler, had been lined up to form the trio but he opted to become coach of UAE. The PCB has said it will advertise to fill the position of bowling coach but will not rush into a decision.

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent