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‘Intend setting up academy in Dubai’

- Hope to again have some role in the IPL, says Dav Whatmore
Outgoing Pakistan head coach Dav Whatmore (second from right) was presented a carpet, as a token of appreciation, by (from left) Javed Miandad (director general), Zaka Ashraf (chairman), Zakir Khan (director-cricket operations), Subhan Ahmed (chief operating officer) and Mohammed Ilyas (former Test player), during his send-off by the PCB, at its headquarters, in Lahore, on Thursday. Picture courtesy: PCB

Calcutta: Dav Whatmore, who didn’t seek an extension of his two-year contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), is in “discussions” to set up a full-fledged academy in Dubai.

“I’m on the verge of signing up with a Dubai-based sports management company and intend setting up an academy there. Discussions are on,” Whatmore told The Telegraph, from Lahore, on Friday.

Whatmore is in Pakistan till January 31, when he’ll depart for Melbourne, his home in native Australia.

“I’ll be with the family for a month... In the past year, I had leave for just two weeks. It wasn’t much better in the first year of my contract...

“That my job was keeping me away from the family for long periods is the principal reason why I decided not to seek an extension as head coach...

“Besides wife Kathryn and children (Alexandra, Davenell Jr), I need to spend time with my mother, Marjorie, who is in her mid 80s. So, for a month, it will all be the family only...

“I’d like to add I’m disappointed that some in the media gave the impression that the PCB didn’t want to grant an extension. Please, the decision was mine, something put on record via a media release last November,” Whatmore stated.

Whatmore has now worked in all four Test-playing nations of Asia. He’s coached Sri Lanka twice, Bangladesh and Pakistan once each, besides heading India’s National Cricket Academy and coaching the Kolkata Knight Riders for two seasons.

“I hope to again have some role in the IPL... Won’t be this season, but at some stage in the future,” Whatmore pointed out.

While Whatmore played for Australia, he’s actually Colombo-born and regards himself as a “subcontinent boy.” He’ll soon be 60, though.

Whatmore and fielding coach Julien Fountain, whose contract also got over, were given an affectionate send-off at the Gaddafi, where the PCB is headquartered, on Thursday.

Both were presented carpets over “high tea.”

Prior to the PCB’s function, Pakistan’s T20 captain, Mohammed Hafeez, gifted “colognes” to Whatmore and Fountain. His way of saying thank you.

“I leave with fond memories and I mean it... Of course, there were challenges, both on and off the field, but that probably goes with every job,” Whatmore said.

Among the high points, Whatmore listed the 2-1 win in the ODI series in India last season. The others included the spectacular victory in the last Test, against Sri Lanka, in Sharjah, and becoming the first team from Asia to win an ODI series in South Africa.

“I could add the Asia Cup victory (March 2012) soon after I’d taken over... Actually, every win holds something special, some more than the others,” Whatmore, who was the coach when Sri Lanka snared the 1996 World Cup, added.

As for the disappointments, Whatmore picked Pakistan’s group-stage exit in the last Champions Trophy, in England, at No.1. “That was very, very frustrating,” Whatmore maintained.

Asked if the PCB had sought his views on a possible successor, Whatmore replied: “No... I myself wouldn’t like to get involved.”

As it was with Whatmore, the first assignment for his successor would be the Asia Cup, in Bangladesh, from February 25-March 8.

Whatmore was Pakistan’s fourth coach from overseas, after Richard Pybus, Bob Woolmer (who is no more) and Geoff Lawson.