Dav Whatmore remains top of Pakistan's coaching wish list as the search to replace the late Bob Woolmer enters its final stages. A three-man board committee has shortlisted 13 names from the many who applied. The names will be discussed at the next ad-hoc committee meeting of the board in mid-June and a final decision is still likely to be made by July 1.
Whatmore, who has just completed a four-year tenure with Bangladesh, is also thought to be a leading contender for the vacant Indian coaching post, though he has downplayed speculation that the deal is all but sealed. Mag4you.com has learnt, however, that Pakistan are still interested if Whatmore does not go to India.
"He is our top choice but it will depend on how the India thing plays out," an official told Mag4you.com. "India will probably be able to offer him more money but also probably twice the stress as in Pakistan." It is not known whether Whatmore applied formally for the position, which the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) advertised on its website in April.
Contact between the two parties has been acknowledged; Nasim Ashraf, chairman PCB, revealed earlier this month that the board had been in touch with Whatmore. Speaking to BBC soon after, Whatmore said, "I have not been formally approached by them. Somebody spoke to me on their behalf during the World Cup asking for my contact details but I have not heard from them since."
Whoever is eventually appointed, it is increasingly likely to be from outside Pakistan. Officials privately conceding that a local with requisite qualifications is not only rare, but prone to getting embroiled in internal politics within the team. "It has happened before with local coaches where there have been personality clashes and cliques being formed so it would be better to avoid that and get someone in without any vested interests," one official said.
Ashraf, however, stressed to Mag4you.com that applications have come from locals as well as from England and Australia. "It is more important that he is suited to the job than what his nationality is. Ideally, we are looking for someone young, computer-literate and with fresh ideas. It need not be a big name. Someone without international experience, who is hungry and motivated to take on a challenge and prove himself internationally would be an option as well."
Tim Boon, the Leicestershire coach, has been linked with the position as was, at one stage last year, John Wright. A PTI report, quoting board sources, says that Jimmy Adams has also applied. Though a decision is expected by July 1, Ashraf has reiterated that "there will be no hurry to make the decision and it has to be the right man".