Bangladesh look forward to taking on the best March 27, 2007

Whatmore excited by youthful side


Dav Whatmore: "We've got the resources and talent to really progress" © Getty Images

Dav Whatmore, the Bangladesh coach, is dreaming of a golden future for his young side who edged out India for a place in the World Cup Super Eights. Bangladesh have made the second round for the first time and will face Australia, Whatmore's own country, in their next match at Antigua on Saturday.

"It's terrific," said Whatmore of his team whose average age is just 22. "We've got a couple of more experienced players, but the vast majority of them are under 25, which is absolutely perfect for an emerging team like us.

"They now have an absolutely wonderful opportunity to play against seven of the world's best sides and they will grow enormously because of that experience. I understand that we are still ranked number nine in the world and have a long way to go before we are consistently challenging the big boys.

"But we've got the resources and talent to really progress and we will be going to the Super Eights to really enjoy ourselves. And from a personal point of view it's great to be in a position where your team is playing well and your methods are being validated."

Whatmore is no stranger to World Cup sensations, having been at the helm when Sri Lanka won the title in 1996. Bangladesh made the second round with a win over India and a seven-wicket victory over Bermuda in the semi-gloom at Trinidad on Sunday.

"I thought the game [against Bermuda] was an extremely difficult one and the boys did brilliantly to keep their focus," said Whatmore. "I know we were only chasing a small total [96], but the ball was doing all sorts of things out there in the first ten overs, and it took a very brave batting performance from the middle order to get us through.

"They've never really been in that situation before, with so much on the line and with so much to lose. This is very significant for us. It's something we always believed we could do if we played to the best of our ability and had a little bit of luck.

"We were the first team to arrive in the Caribbean and had a couple of extra matches in the conditions against Canada and Bermuda. We've only had one training session called off because of bad weather and in general our preparation has been as thorough and as focused as it possibly could be. People might think we've caused upsets' but we knew deep down that we were capable of beating the best teams on our day."