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Since 1st March, 1999
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Who is Whatmore, asks Kapil Dev
- Ex-captain and coach wants Prasad, Robin promoted

Calcutta: Dav Whatmore must thank his stars that the influential and straight-punching Kapil Dev isn’t on the Board-appointed committee empowered to select the Team India coach.

India’s only World Cup-winning captain (and a former coach) could, after all, have really queered the pitch for the 53-year-old Australian.

For whatever reason, Kapil hasn’t been bowled over by the 1996 World Cup-winning coach. That came through on Thursday afternoon.

Indeed, when asked by The Telegraph to comment on Whatmore being the frontrunner to succeed Greg Chappell, Kapil bitingly posed a counter question: “Who is Whatmore'”

That’s bound to boost the ‘let’s-get-a-desi-coach’ lobby which, right now, is in a minority within the Board.

Kapil, who was in the city on a National Cricket Academy assignment, added: “Why do we need to talk about Whatmore' Or, for that matter, anybody not associated with our team at this point in time…

“In my opinion, when Ravi (Shastri) isn’t available after Bangladesh, the Board should give the coach’s powers to Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh, both of whom have played international cricket and are currently working with the boys…”

While Prasad is the specialist bowling coach, Robin is fine-tuning fielding skills.

Shastri’s term as the interim cricket manager ends on May 29, the scheduled last day of the ongoing tour.

Whatmore, whose contract with Bangladesh finishes next week, isn’t just the frontrunner but is apparently the only one being considered “seriously.”

But, then, this could change between now and June 4, when the seven-member committee meets in Bangalore.

Headed by Board president Sharad Pawar, the committee has three ex-captains — Srinivas Venkatraghavan, Sunil Gavaskar and Shastri. The remaining seats have gone to secretary Niranjan Shah, joint-secretary Mohinder Pandove and treasurer N. Srinivasan.

The former captains had also been on the committee which selected Chappell in May 2005.

Back to Kapil…

“At the cost of repeating what I’ve been saying, at this level one doesn’t need a coach… Players have to be managed and both Prasad and Robin are capable of doing that well… Chappell didn’t know much about bowling, so there’s no point arguing that Prasad won’t be able to sort out problems faced by batsmen…

“We didn’t have coaches… We didn’t have specialist support staff… If you ask me, players have to take more responsibility and they’ve got to help each other…

“If (Rahul) Dravid has a problem, then Sachin Tendulkar can guide him… Then, somebody like Anil Kumble could play the same role with the bowlers…” Kapil said.

It’s an interesting thought, but one isn’t sure whether there will be many takers.

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