Vol. 5 Num 472 Fri. September 23, 2005  

Batsmen to blame: Dav

Still rueing the wasted chances Bangladesh had thrown away in both the Tests, Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore blamed the batsmen for errors in decision-making.

"In both Tests on the first days, we had the upper hand. From a position of relative strength, we handed it back to the opposition. Had we taken Tillakaratne Dilshan's catch when Sri Lanka were 4-60, it could have been different," said Whatmore at the post-match briefing of the second Test on Thursday.

"Most of them got starts but did not carry on. Reasons why these things happen are definitely errors in decision-making as a batsman. One or two tried to drive when the ball was not at that length to be driven. Consequently the ball deviates and it's on way up when the bat is coming down to meet the ball. And it gets an edge or you get bowled," said the 51-year-old said giving an explanation of the technical faults.

When his attention was drawn to Mohammad Ashraful's performance in the series, he defended his prodigy.

"Ashraful is trying hard not to play rash shots. He is not a naturally defensive player. He is being guilty of playing a lot of shots a little bit too early in his innings and getting out. He is getting criticised by media for this. But he is only a 21-year-old who has a lot of shots, in fact all the shots. It is a bit hard for him to understand his game compared to others who are lot less limited in their strokeplay.

"But we have seen flushes of brilliance in his 158 against India and a one-day hundred against Australia and also during a 90 against England. But he has got to find it at a level in the longer game to become a consistent performer for Bangladesh. It will happen but it is just taking longer than what we all would like.

"We have a lot of work to do. The domestic cricket starts in a week or so. That's four months of non-international cricket which some ways is good for the lads, to have a knock about, trying to get a little more fitness as well. We will also try to unite them as a group in between matches."

Whatmore thought one of the positives from this dull tour were the quick bowlers Shahadat Hossain and Syed Rasel.

"Other than them, our fielding, generally the ground fielding, has improved although we have dropped an early chance. Also, Shahriar Nafees scoring a 50 was fine. He should have not got out but the effort he showed and reaction in the dressing room when he got out, is more I want to see. He was totally disappointed."

Being Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning coach who now trains the minnows, life could be difficult but Whatmore said that he wants to be as realistic as much as he can.

"You can get a little bit down and emotional about all these (defeats). But you just pick up the pace and have to believe in what you are doing. One or two good performances along the way come as tonic."

"As soon as I feel I am not wanted or I am not doing a good job, I'll go, just like I did with Sri Lanka in 1996," said the Australian when asked whether he was under pressure from the Board or media back home to quit after the team's recent poor performances.

NOW THE TEST TROPHY: Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu holds the Test series trophy after beating Bangladesh in the second Test in Colombo on Thursday. PHOTO: AFP