Dhaka: The Bangladeshis have won few points on the field, but that didn’t stop outgoing coach Dav Whatmore from needling the team he could soon be coaching.
“India’s a little better team than us... We’ve got the ability to scare,” he commented with a straight-face, shortly after Rahul Dravid’s men took an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the ODIs.
For cricket manager Ravi Shastri, though, it was a bit too much. “What' Has Whatmore said that' Well, ask him after the third (and final) match,” he countered during an interaction with the media after Saturday’s face-off.
Chittagong hosts the last ODI on Tuesday.
Shastri added: “Bangladesh’s best chance was in the first ODI... They won’t get another opportunity... We’ve come here to show no mercy... Take no prisoners... We’re looking at 3-0...”
One doesn’t wish to belittle Bangladesh but even a whitewash, so to say, won’t exactly mean much. That’s why, perhaps, Dravid is looking at the “challenges ahead.”
For the record, the last series win outside India was in Pakistan 15 months ago. It’s not terribly exciting as Bangladesh and Pakistan are no more than a hop away.
Back to Shastri...
Asked whether “no mercy” and “no prisoners” figured in pep talks, he replied: “One only plays to win... That’s the way I played.”
Shastri, of course, had an excellent record as (stand-in) captain. Now, he’s tasting success in a different role. “I feel proud... I have curd and honey every morning!”
He confirmed he wouldn’t be available once this tour ends.
Shastri, by the way, praised Whatmore. “You’ve got to give him credit... He identified a group of players with talent and worked hard with them... It shows in Bangladesh’s body language... It’s a very fine fielding unit...”
It’s not insignificant that Shastri is on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)-appointed committee to decide on Greg Chappell’s successor.
Apparently, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah is expected in a couple of days and, so, there may be a dialogue with Whatmore. “I’ve already stated that I’m keen... I’ve got nothing else to add,” Whatmore told The Telegraph after learning that Shah could soon be in Bangladesh.
Being too keen, after all, may reduce his bargaining power.
Footnote: Irrespective of what was said at the media conference, Whatmore warmly congratulated Shastri as they met in the foyer on returning to the Sheraton. Shastri couldn’t have flashed a broader smile.