Still early days insists the Bangladesh coach

'It is just one match' - Whatmore

Dave Whatmore on what the win against india means

Nagraj Gollapudi

March 18, 2007

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'These are all different players but they are pretty shrewd in their heads': Mushfiqur Rahim was among the spunky teenage trio who pulled the rug from under India's feet © Getty Images
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Bangladesh's stunning victory against India in their World Cup opener saw them shed their minnows status and gives them a serious chance to make it the Super 8s ahead of their heavyweight neighbour. But one man, Dave Whatmore, the Bangladesh coach, is not ready to uncork the champagne as yet. Feet firmly on the ground, Whatmore, who spoke exclusively to Cricinfo, wants his young tigers to learn to get into the winning habit.

Can you talk about your feelings at the moment?

I am very happy. We had a good start to the tournament, but that's just a game, it is one win. It is a big win, but one win and gives us a good chance to progress.

It is not a surprise the victory, right?

Why? No, it wasn't a surprise. But it was a difficult thing to do, but the boys responded really well. It's a result of a number of things, but for the public it is a small upset, isn't it?

The mental make-up of the Bangladesh teams looks full of confidence. It must've taken you a long time to arrive at this point?

At the moment the confidence is up, yeah. Teams come in and out of feeling confident. It has taken a while, but we've had to play teams that were below, our associates as well. That has helped us to get the confidence up when you play and win. These games (World Cup) are a bigger test, but it helps when you come into bigger matches having won in the past.

In the past, too, you have scored similar victories, but they proved to be more of the isolated kind. So, how do you ensure that you carry forward this winning rhythm and not suffer any jolts?

That's right. There've been very much so isolated, just spasmodic victories. We can't expect the Bangladesh cricket team to be known anything other than the minnows unless you start to put more wins together. We've been saying that for a while, this is nothing new. We beat New Zealand in a practice match (World Cup warm-up). I know it was only a practice match, but it was a very important one for us, very important for New Zealand. So, we are getting to the point where we are getting a little bit more consistent but we have to continue in that way.

Do you get hurt when Bangladesh are still put in the bracket of minnows?

Not really because it might help us to win us some games as, well, people take us lightly.

And the youngsters, like Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Saqibul, Syed Rasul, to name a few, just don't give the feeling about them being the rookies they are supposed to be. Is it something new?

It all depends on the make-up of the individual. If the individual is a little bit stronger and puts that a little percentage of arrogance it helps to overcome the mental stress early on. These are all different players but they are pretty shrewd in their heads.

What about Mashrafe Mortaza: he is proving to be a matchwinner consistently?

Mashrafe Mortaza has been managed really well. He had two major reconstructions in his very young career so far, but in the last 18 months he hasn't missed a game because of injury and that is a very good thing.

Could you talk up about the build-up to yesterday's victory after the New Zealand victory. Was there a particular strategy you went in with?

Of course. We discussed as a group how we should approach the game and we also agreed on a strategy how to respond to individual opposition players. That is normal, every team would do that. I can stress that we got a good build-up and we have done as much as we possibly could've done in the time provided in the lead-up here in the Caribbean.

Was it a particular strategy to play three left-arm spinners?

No, that's our best combination at the moment.

What have they being doing right? We've got a lot of things wrong, that's why we were ranked 10 and now we are nine. We are slowly emerging as a good side. Let's put this in perspective: you can't jump on the bandwagon and say, "listen, Bangladesh has turned the corner," like most in the media are trying to do. Okay, congratulate us, we've done well, yes. But it is just one match, we've got to keep going. We've done a lot of things wrong, lot and lot and lot of things wrong. We are now beginning to do a few things right, so let's give us more time.

What has Bangladesh being doing right all these years you feel?

What have they being doing right! We've got a lot of things wrong, that's why we were ranked 10 and now we are nine. We are slowly emerging as a good side. Let's put this in perspective: you can't jump on the bandwagon and say, "listen, Bangladesh has turned the corner," like most in the media are trying to do. Okay, congratulate us, we've done well, yes. But it is just one match, we've got to keep going. We've done a lot of things wrong, lot and lot and lot of things wrong. We are now beginning to do a few things right, so let's give us more time.

But the expectations are surely going to multiply now?

We've to got out keep our feet on the ground. But at the same time the team is a lot better than what it was. We've had some very good judges tell us that we can surprise many and that is exactly what is happening. We've also got to keep our heads and we still got a good side - if we play to our potential we will do okay.

The shocking demise of Manjurul Islam Rana must've played a part in the team's emotional build-up. Could you talk about the emotions on the eve of the game?

It was horrible, horrible news. Young Manjurul Islam Rana is still on contract; In fact, he was training with the World Cup squad of 30 players just before we left. Probably one of the best team-man you could ever wish to have in the group. He was a lovely, lovely kid who worked pretty hard. As a result of that a lot of people were quite touched and very hurt when they found out the other day he is no longer with us. But that was something I'm sure the players wanted to do it for him in the first game. We've to continue though.

Few thoughts on Ireland's magical journey so far?

Fantastic. Ireland, Scotland, some of these teams they are not too bad. They need the opportunity to play in these competitions. You gonna get the odd mis-match like Netherlands when they played South Africa, Bermuda when Sri Lanka hammered them the other day. But it is worth it because there are one or two teams who can potentially come up and increase the amount of teams in world cricket. It is very good. That is a must. You should continue, I will support it.

Nagraj Gollapudi is assistant editor of Cricinfo Magazine

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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