With all developing teams, there are areas which need improvement. There are always ways of improving and getting opportunity. There are quite good players in Nepal. They need to be identified, groomed and given opportunity. The game is played in the head.
Nepali talents need to be identified and given opportunities: Whatmore
Dav Whatmore, the world cup winning cricket coach with Sri Lanka in 1996, conducted a two-week high performance training camp from January 25 to February 7 for 32 players including members of the national cricket team. He also ran a two-day coaching clinic for cricket coaches of Nepal.
The high performance camp was held on the eve of Nepal's ICC World Cricket League Championship fifth round match against Kenya. Nepal is scheduled to take on Kenya on March 11 and 13 at TU grounds, Kirtipur.
Whatmore, the Sri Lanka-born Australian, arrived Nepal under the initiation of newly formed Bat and Ball Foundation (B2F). Whatmore, who has the experience of playing seven Test matches and one ODI for Australia, is the most high profile coach Nepal has ever got an opportunity to trained with. Republica's Prajwal Oli caught up with him after completion of his last day training camp on February 5. Excerpts.
How was the training camp and your stay in Nepal?
We started with two days' workshop with coaches and then we got into practical work with extended group of boys (national team). It was very very rewarding experience. It is my first time in Nepal and I think I am better person for coming here and working with the boys. I hope you will see improvement very soon.
What is your impression about Nepali cricket after conducting the two-week training camp?
I was happy to see the talent and the depth of talent. With all developing teams, there are areas which need improvement. The ability to think about situation in competitions are very stressful. There is no difference in it compared to other developing teams. But the talent is really good and the youth team came within one run from beating Sri Lanka in the U-19 Asia (Cup) in December. It is a proof that you have really good players. I say there are quite good players in Nepal. They need to be identified, groomed and given opportunity and better facilities.
But there seems a big gap in the performance level of the same U-19 team when it reached the national team. Why is it?
There are always ways of improving. Sri Lanka plays at the U-23 level after U-19 (Nepal does not have that). To gradually improve for youngsters, you need to have more competitions, you need to identify talents and give them opportunities. The boys need confidence and support.
What did you find the level of Nepal as an Associate nation?
You (Nepal) are in the highest level of World Cricket League. You participated in the 50-over competition of the highest league. You have the chance to play in the World Cup. In the future, Nepal even has chance to get Test membership but there is a long way to go.
A number of things have to be on track. You have to have first class competition in your own country. Afghanistan has been just given first class status and Ireland too.
You talked about the areas of improvement and where did you think Nepal needs to improve most and what was your focus during the training period?
If there is one point which needs improvement most, then I would call it batting. In these sessions, the boys are learning to bat longer and make big scores and building partnerships. The training was focused on a bit of technique and mental ability. Once the game is played, it is played in the head.
Training was focused on mental approach
The training under coach Dav Whatmore was very good. He holds a lot of expertise in cricket. He was very friendly and has given us a lot of input. Although the training period was short, he tried to give us insight about the approach the team needs to have and the way international teams prepare ahead of their matches.
He focused mostly on mental approach of players and gaining positive vibes which will be of big help to the team. He has tried to show us how small things make bigger impact on the pitch.
It has been a big help to keep us moving forward. The knowledge he shared with us will definitely help players in future not only during the upcoming match against Kenya. We hope to execute the things learnt from him against Kenya.