Pakistan’s under-fire head coach, Australian Dav Whatmore has admitted that the one-day and T20 series win in the West Indies has come at the right time for him and the national team players.
“I felt that after our performance in the Champions Trophy there was unnecessary criticism on me and it did affect me. That is why it was very important for us to do well in the West Indies,” Whatmore told the “Express” newspaper on Sunday.
The Australian has come in for harsh criticism from many quarters in recent times after failing to live up to expectations since he took charge of the national team in March, 2012.
With victories and good performances far and few in between for the national team since he took charge, many former players and critics have questioned whether the Pakistan cricket board had taken the right decision to bring in Whatmore on a hefty pay.
But the former Australian batsman, who has also coached the Sri Lankan and Bangladesh team, said the victories in the West Indies had helped raise the morale and spirits of the team.
“The victories came at the right time for us and they were hard earned wins because the West Indies have a strong one-day unit and are world T20 champions and are not easy to beat in their own backyard,” Whatmore said.
He rubbished the reports in the British tabloid “Daily Mail” about the ICC anti-corruption unit looking into some of the matches played in the West Indies.
“I don’t want to say much on this issue as the PCB is already looking into the matter but as far as I am concerned I see the report as rubbish because I know in the West Indies the players were totally focused on cricket and doing well in the series,” he said.
Whatmore said the players had also now learnt to cope with such enforced controversies.
The Australian coach said he was not worried about Muhammad Hafeez’s prolonged lack of batting form saying he was doing everything to get back into form again.
On Shahid Afridi, he said the allrounder went into every match with the weight of expectations of the entire nation on his shoulders.
“I don’t think it is possible for him to come up to these expectations in every match. But since his comeback he has been working very hard on his batting and bowling and is an important member of the side.”
Whatmore also praised the performance of Umar Akmal in the West Indies.
“Since I took over as coach this is the first time I have seen so much consistency in his performances. He batted consistently throughout the series and also handled the responsibility of keeping wickets as well strongly.
“But I think we need to wait for a while before reaching a decision whether he is now the permanent keeper of the one-day and T20 squads,” he added.