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For World Cup winning Whatmore, Nepal coaching job is a big challenge

Dav Whatmore was officially unveiled as Nepal’s national cricket team coach on Thursday as the 1996 World Cup winner with Sri Lanka said it was going to be a big challenge to take up the hot seat.

Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup title when the island nation was just beginning to make its mark in the world cricket, was appointed to lead the Nepali team under a one-year contract. Whatmore was supposed to take the job from the beginning of the year but the current pandemic situation delayed his unveiling.

The Australian arrived in Kathmandu on January 17 and isolated himself before testing negative for COVID-19. “Every job that I have had came with a challenge and this (Nepal job) also is no lesser challenge. This is not an easy position,” Whatmore told a press conference as the Cricket Association of Nepal unveiled the new coach after the cricket governing body was reinstated following an international suspension.

“Its important for this country to prove itself. Regardless of being the Full Member or the Associates, the level of challenge is still there. So that always excites me and was a motivational factor to take up this job,” Watmore told the press.

Nepal, the latest entrant in the One Day International club, are currently playing the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2, a competition among the top sides after the Test playing nations, and is looking forward to at least retain the status if its not playing the 50-over 2023 World Cup.

Whatmore is not a new face for Nepal having previously conducted a High Performance Camp in 2017. PHOTO: KAUSHAL ADHIKARI

Whatmore’s major task upfront will be to lead the Himalayan nation to 2022 Twenty20 World Cup having already played the global showpiece event in 2014. Whatmore, also a former Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe coach, expected the cricket board to support him in this task.

“The board will be supporting everyway possible. But reaching World Cup is very difficult. Lot of countries are trying exactly what we are trying. Nevertheless, unless we dream or really have aspirations to reach higher level then its never going to happen. As long as the boys really have the grasp of doing it for each other, working for each other you got a chance,” the coach added.

“I can’t promise but there are certain things which you do then you will give yourself a chance.”

Whatmore is not a new face for Nepal having previously conducted a two-week long High Performance Camp in 2017. Whatmore, however, was not lured for the job considering his familiarity with Nepal. “That was not the whole reason (to apply for the coaching job) to be here. But its nice to reflect back and to know that you are walking into the ground you are not seeing for the first time. You see some familiar faces and that’s also a good thing,” Whatmore said.

The immediate job is to prepare a group of boys together with a the selections that we come up with. Our focus is to look little bit further down the track to ensure that the rankings can be improved. We need a little bit of time but our immediate goal of course is to set the games with Oman which will be pretty quickly and we are aware of that, he said.

Whatmore’s first assignment will be the League 2 Tri-Series against Oman and USA set for March 19-20 in Oman.

With Nepal already beaten twice by the gulf nation at their own backyard, Whatmore faces to tough ask to regain pride playing away to them. Nepal had beaten USA in both games of their first Tri-Series under the League 2.

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