ICC World Cup: India have built a strong bowling attack, says Dav Whatmore
Zimbabwe coach successfully plotted India's downfall in earlier WC's — twice during the 1996 event as coach of Sri Lanka and once as B'desh boss in 2007 but is impressed with the team's performance lately
Auckland: A few members of this Indian team will encounter a familiar face in the opposition camp when they step on to Eden Park for Saturday's inconsequential Group B World Cup match against Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore knows what it takes to beat India. Pic/Getty Images
Current Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore was in-charge of the Indian junior side that included Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja during their 2008 under-19 World Cup-winning campaign in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Kohli (19 runs) and Jadeja (11) did not make significant contributions when India beat South Africa (by D/L method) at Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur in March 2008, but seven years later, Whatmore's wards are excelling on world cricket's highest stage.
Sri Lankan-born Whatmore has also been closely associated with cricket in India. He coached at the National Cricket Academy from 2007 to 2012. Whatmore said he was impressed to see a big improvement in the Indian team's bowling at this tournament, especially given their poor show in the Tests followed by the tri-series Down Under.
"It's a team that is bowling the opposition out frequently and that has been a big plus for India. Their batting talent has never really been in question. What was needed was a good strong bowling performance and they have done that," said Whatmore.
Interestingly, March is a significant month in the cricket calendar as far as Whatmore and India are concerned. He coached Sri Lanka to victory over India twice in the 1996 World Cup – first on March 2 in New Delhi and on March 13 at the semi-final in Kolkata.
Then, at the 2007 edition, Whatmore coached the Bangladeshis who beat India on March 17. Whatmore, India and March have another significant association: His India U-19 team won the World Cup on March 2, 2008. Finally, Whatmore's Zimbabwe have another World Cup March appointment tomorrow.
Whatmore's 2008 ward Kohli scored a fine century (107) recently against Pakistan in Adelaide followed by important contributions of 46 (vs South Africa), 33 not out (vs UAE), 33 (vs West Indies) and 44 not out (vs Ireland). Jadeja meanwhile, hasn't done too well with the bat, but has been MS Dhoni's handyman when it comes to the slow bowling department and has claimed seven wickets so far in the World Cup.
That World Cup...
Veteran coach Whatmore (60) is mighty pleased to see his wards progress. "To be very honest with you, I was only there for a short period of time but the time I spent with them (Kohli and Jadeja) was enjoyable. It wasn't difficult to see that they had potential to go on and it is nice to see they have realised it. There is still more for them to do," Whatmore told reporters during Zimbabwe's training session at Eden Park yesterday.
"Kohli was confident as an under-19 captain as well. There have been many examples of confident young players who don't follow up and follow through. But Kohli is a player who has (followed through)," added Whatmore.