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Kerala ready to challenge for Ranji title, says Dav Whatmore

Whatmore described his role in the team as someone who will motivate and boost the players to perform at their very best to the top of their potential.

Dave Whatmore
Dave Whatmore, the new coach of Zimbabwe’s national cricket team new coach, gestures as he speaks with the media after he was announced as the new coach during a press conference in Harare on December 30, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JEKESAI NIJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Dav Whatmore has a bag full of experience when it comes to coaching and facing the toughest of challenges. Whatmore has previously coached Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Zimbabwe which saw him witness the rise and fall of all these teams. The Sri Lankan is currently serving as the head coach of the Kerala cricket team, after making it clear that he would not engage himself in any international ventures from now on.

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However, the Kerala challenge would not be as easy as one thinks it to be compared to that of coaching a national team. Kerala opted to secure the services of Dav Whatmore as the coach as they have set their eyes on the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy. But the task will be a lot harder than before because of the new Ranji format. The new Ranji format sees the teams get divided into four groups of seven with the top two from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals.

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“There are no elite or plate divisions (Groups A, B or C based on strengths of teams which had been the format for the last few seasons) this season. You are grouped with six other teams which could be anyone from the country. The challenge is definitely greater but well within the grasps of this team,” Whatmore told TOI on Sunday.

“I’m not sure what I prefer. Whatever it is, if you aspire to win anything, you’ve got to beat some good teams along the way. So might as well do that,” added Whatmore, who was the coach of the Sri Lankan team when they lifted the 1996 World Cup.

Whatmore described his role in the team as someone who will motivate and boost the players to perform at their very best to the top of their potential. “I have had a look at the performances and I have received inputs from people. Now, I have had a look at upto 30 players and I can say that this bunch has the skill to do it. They just need to get a little bit stronger in the mind. I hope to instil a bit from the mental point of view,” said Whatmore.

“We have two very good outstation players in Arun Karthik and Jalaj Saxena. Then you throw in the regulars (Sachin) Baby, (Rohan) Prem, Sanju (Samson), (Basil) Thampi, (Sandeep) Warrier along with the youngsters, it a really good unit,” added Whatmore.

Speaking about BCCI’s decision to go back to the home and away format for the Ranji group stages, whatmore stated “Home-and-away is the right way to go. Countries play home-and-away. It’s a good thing homegrown players play in front of their own people.”

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