Whatmore confident of 'two-horse race'
Dav Whatmore, the Bangladesh coach, believes that his side will put up a strong show in the upcoming ODI and Test series against Sri Lanka and also feels that his players would not feel out of place in sub-continental conditions.
Bangladesh, who arrived on Wednesday night, had their initial practice session at the NCC grounds yesterday will play a series of three one-day internationals and two Tests. "We are playing in conditions which are little bit more favourable to us than in England," said Whatmore referring to the fiery examination that his players were subjected to on their recent tour to England. "In perspective the opposition is good, but it's a two-horse race. We are really going to fight hard for ourselves. We have come here with our eyes open. Every tour is important to us. We understand that the home team is full of confidence having won in grand style a triangular and a Test series."
Whatmore said that Bangladesh were aware the influence that Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan would have on series but wasn't planning to concentrate only on those two. "We are not going to focus on them to the extent you neglect everything else," he said. "We are aware of what they can do and that the bowling attack revolves around them. In the one-day games, though, there are a lot of other factors which will determine the winner, not just Vaas and Murali."
Having tasted tremendous success when he coached Sri Lanka - guiding them to the 1996 World Cup in his first stint and then being part of a side that won nine Tests in a row during his second stint - Whatmore admitted that he had a fair idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the side. "I am going to share every bit of information I have of the Sri Lankan team," he added. "If you do a job you do it as well as you can no matter whom you are coaching. We still understand you'll have to apply whatever tactics you have, play it properly and implement it in the correct manner."
Unlike their earlier visits, Bangladesh arrived in Sri Lanka with a confident outlook after a satisfactory few months, having won their first-ever Test and one-day series at home against Zimbabwe and also pulling off upset ODI victories against against India and Australia. "The win over Australia gives reassurance not just to the players or me, but to the whole Bangladesh Cricket Board," he said. "We went to England in May-June and lost a series to a bloody good English side that is currently doing well against Australia. Mind you we played against teams that have played the longer version of the game for over a 100 years. We've been playing domestic cricket (four-day cricket) only since 2001.