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“The victories came at the right time for us”
Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore believes his side’s recent triumph over the West Indies couldn’t have come at a better time, especially since Pakistan lost their previous series against South Africa and failed to win a single game in the last ever Champions Trophy.
Whatmore also felt as if people were being too quick to criticise him after Pakistan’s failure in the Champions Trophy.
“I felt that after our performance in the Champions Trophy there was unnecessary criticism on me and it did affect me,” Whatmore told the Pakistan-based Express newspaper. “That is why it was very important for us to do well in the West Indies.”
Whatmore noted that the successful tour of the Caribbean had boosted the morale and spirits of the Pakistan team.
“The victories came at the right time for us and they were hard earned wins because the West Indies have a strong one-day unit and are world T20 champions and are not easy to beat in their own backyard,” Whatmore said.
He was also quick to dismiss the speculations made by the Bristish-based Daily Mail newspaper, who published a report stating that the third ODI between Pakistan and the West Indies, which ended as a tie, was being investigated for match-fixing by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“I don’t want to say much on this issue as the PCB is already looking into the matter but as far as I am concerned I see the report as rubbish because I know in the West Indies the players were totally focused on cricket and doing well in the series,” he said.
Whatmore lavished praise on all-rounder Shahid Afridi who made his comeback during the series and took a career-best seven wickets for 12 runs in the first ODI to lead Pakistan to victory.
“I don’t think it is possible for him to come up to these expectations in every match,” Whatmore said. “But since his comeback he has been working very hard on his batting and bowling and is an important member of the side.”
The Pakistan coach also took the opportunity to speak highly of Umar Akmal, who performed extremely well throughout the series, despite having to adapt to becoming a wicketkeeper-batsman.
“Since I took over as coach this is the first time I have seen so much consistency in his performances,” Whatmore said. “He batted consistently throughout the series and also handled the responsibility of keeping wickets as well strongly. “But I think we need to wait for a while before reaching a decision whether he is now the permanent keeper of the one-day and T20 squads.”