Pakistan will be back to their best against South Africa, says Dav Whatmore

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“I feel we are in a better position than before”

Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore has announced that the national team will be back to their best when they take on South Africa in the United Arab Emirates in the coming days.

Whatmore noted that Pakistan’s recent tour of Zimbabwe had been “embarrassing, upsetting and disappointing” as they lost an ODI and Test match, which saw them plummet from fourth to sixth on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test team rankings.

“All three adjectives (upsetting, disappointed and embarrassing) can be used to describe the way I feel after the defeat against Zimbabwe,” Whatmore told ESPNcricinfo. “I understand you cannot win with these sort of performances but I don’t want to blame. I rather look for reasons and try to see things in a perspective than being judgmental.

“I know things were not good as we were a bit naughty with both bat and ball. But in the end, we only lost one Test match. I know it’s Zimbabwe and I am also not happy with the result at all. I would like to think and public should understand that Zimbabwe team gave us a better fight than what the whole public thought. It wasn’t easy breaking them down as they were not a bad team in their home conditions.”

Pakistan whitewashed England in the United Arab Emirates when they were the top-ranked Test team last January and Whatmore knows that people will be expecting the Asian giants to give South Africa, who are currently the number one Test side, a run for their money.

“I have confidence in the Pakistan team,” he said. “You can’t just say (that we don’t have a chance). The conditions will be entirely different.

“I feel we are in a better position than before. At least Zimbabwe gave us better preparation and they were bit stronger than what a lot of us thought.”

Whatmore noted that a team reshuffle would also be necessary since conditions will be different to that of Zimbabwe.

“There is good ground for discussion on the change ahead of (South Africa series),” he said. “You are going from one competition to another in totally different conditions and against an opposition that has a different formation. So there are number of variations and I don’t think we can fit the same set of eleven players to play the number one team. But yes, we need to be consistently looking towards strengthening the team combination.”

Whatmore and captain Misbah-ul-Haq have come under heavy criticism after Pakistan’s shocking tour of Zimbabwe, but it is understood that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have no intentions of firing Whatmore even though they are not keen on renewing his contract, which expires in six months time.

“Misbah has some wonderful leadership qualities and has been successful since he took over recently,” Whatmore said. “My observations are that by nature he is a methodical person who thinks deeply before making decisions. This is reflected in his batting as well. He takes a little time at the beginning but at the end his contribution is effective. His consistency in contributions during 2013 has been second to none. It’s easy for people to be critical.”

While Whatmore may not be getting the results everyone wants, he insisted that he is trying his best to turn things around.

“I can not control what people think,” he said. “I know what I am doing being a professional coach with 15 years of international experience and nobody has such experience. When you are about to conclude your contract, these questions do emerge. But the renewal depends on mutual willingness. I know what I do is done with the best of intention and at the end of the day I can sleep straight, comfortably.”

When asked if he is still haunted by the Zimbabwe tour, Whatmore said: “I don’t worry. Everyday I need to know what we are doing is correct. Like everybody, I also make mistakes and I admit them. I am doing the best possible job what I can do.”

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