Whatmore confident of better show in UAE
Dav Whatmore, the Pakistan coach, has said the recent Test loss against Zimbabwe has been "embarrassing, upsetting and disappointing", but on the positive side, has provided the team with preparation ahead of the upcoming series in the UAE.
"All three adjectives (upsetting, disappointed and embarrassing) can be used to describe the way I feel after the defeat against Zimbabwe," Whatmore told ESPNcricinfo. "I understand you cannot win with these sort of performances but I don't want to blame. I rather look for reasons and try to see things in a perspective than being judgmental.
"I know things were not good as we were a bit naughty with both bat and ball. But in the end, we only lost one Test match. I know it's Zimbabwe and I am also not happy with the result at all. I would like to think and public should understand that Zimbabwe team gave us a better fight than what the whole public thought. It wasn't easy breaking them down as they were not a bad team in their home conditions."
Pakistan are yet to win a series under Whatmore, who has six months remaining in his two-year contract, and the team's next assignment - the two-Test series against South Africa in the UAE - is a tough one. But it was in the UAE that Pakistan earned a remarkable win against the then No. 1 side, England, and Whatmore understood that there would be expectations this time too.
"I have confidence in the Pakistan team," he said. "You can't just say (that we don't have a chance). The conditions will be entirely different.
"I feel we are in a better position than before. At least Zimbabwe gave us better preparation and they were bit stronger than what a lot of us thought."
The selectors are likely to consider Taufeeq Umar for the opening role, with Mohammad Hafeez's selection for the series in jeopardy. Whatmore said there was a need for a reshuffle in the XI as the series would be played in entirely different conditions from what were encountered in Zimbabwe.
"There is good ground for discussion on the change ahead of (South Africa series)," he said. "You are going from one competition to another in totally different conditions and against an opposition that has a different formation. So there are number of variations and I don't think we can fit the same set of eleven players to play the number one team. But yes, we need to be consistently looking towards strengthening the team combination."
Whatmore's coaching and Misbah-ul-Haq's captaincy came under severe criticism after the series in Zimbabwe, but ESPNcricinfo understands the PCB has no immediate plan to remove the head coach, although they are not intent on renewing his contract that expires in April 2014.
"Misbah has some wonderful leadership qualities and has been successful since he took over recently," Whatmore said. "My observations are that by nature he is a methodical person who thinks deeply before making decisions. This is reflected in his batting as well. He takes a little time at the beginning but at the end his contribution is effective. His consistency in contributions during 2013 has been second to none. It's easy for people to be critical."
Whatmore, 59, might not have had the positive results with the squad, but he insisted that he has been doing his job whole-heartedly. "I can not control what people think," he said. "I know what I am doing being a professional coach with 15 years of international experience and nobody has such experience. When you are about to conclude your contract, these questions do emerge. But the renewal depends on mutual willingness. I know what I do is done with the best of intention and at the end of the day I can sleep straight, comfortably.
When asked if the results haunted him, Whatmore replied, "I don't worry. Everyday I need to know what we are doing is correct. Like everybody, I also make mistakes and I admit them. I am doing the best possible job what I can do."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here