Davenell Whatmore is in an unusual and an enviable position, thanks to a truly international CV.
Born in Colombo, played for Australia, coached Sri Lanka (twice), Lancashire, Bangladesh, the Kolkata Knight Riders and, now Pakistan’s head coach... Impressive.
Indeed, whether it’s a cricket ground in Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the revered Old Trafford or our very own Eden Gardens, it’s a homecoming for the 58-year-old World Cup-winning coach.
“Yes, it’s nice to be back in Calcutta,” Whatmore told The Telegraph, shortly after Misbah-ul Haq and his men landed here on Monday afternoon, ahead of the second ODI against India, on Thursday.
[Whatmore coached the Knights for two years, in 2010 and in 2011, with the franchise finishing sixth and fourth, respectively, in those two editions of the IPL.]
The two-match T20 International series ended 1-1, but Pakistan have taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI shootout.
“I’m delighted at the way the boys have played over the past week... In a three-match series, it’s important to quickly get off the blocks, to take the lead... We’ve done just that,” Whatmore said, sounding mighty pleased.
Asked if he was relieved that Sachin Tendulkar had retired from limited overs cricket exactly a week before the first ODI, at the Chepauk, Whatmore candidly replied: “Yep... Tendulkar is always a performer... A threat to every opposition.”
The Chepauk was far from full, on Sunday, but the Cricket Association of Bengal is expecting a close to capacity turnout at the Eden.
That Sachin won’t be playing could well have an impact at venues across India.