Pawar expected to talk to Whatmore
May 18, 2007 - 12:39:20 PM

Chittagong, May 18 - Indian cricket board president Sharad Pawar, arriving here Saturday, is expected to talk to Bangladesh's outgoing coach Dave Whatmore as a possible replacement for Greg Chappell.

Pawar, who is arriving here Saturday along with his wife Pratibha to watch the first Test against Bangladesh, will be accompanied by three officials of Board of Control for Cricket in India - - Rajeev Shukla, a vice-president, board secretary Niranjan Shah and its chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty, according to a fax received by the Bangladesh Cricket Board -.

Pawar's, friend and doctor Ravi Bapat and D.K. Singh will also be in the private jet that will bring them to this port city.

A top BCB official said that it was interesting that Pawar was coming to Chittagong and not going to Dhaka, the country's capital.

'If their idea is not to have talks with Whatmore, why are they coming to Chittagong?' he wondered.

'But there is no harm in speaking with Whatmore, who is anyway leaving at the end of this month.'

BCB president Mohammad Abdul Aziz, however, said Thursday that he would not allow Whatmore to have talks with the BCCI officials during the match.

Pawar's entourage will first check in at hotel Peninsula Saturday afternoon, where the Indian team is also staying, and then reach the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium to watch the action, as per the itinerary.

Aziz will host dinner for Pawar and other members of his team at the Chittagong Club later.

India's assistant high commissioner in Chittagong and a few other high-ranking officials along with the top BCB administrators are also expected to be invited for the dinner.

Officially, Pawar's visit is being described as a 'private' one, but the fact that the Indian team does not have a coach at the moment cannot be discounted.

Former India player Ravi Shastri is the interim cricket coach for the Bangladesh tour. But the team needs a coach when it undertakes a long tour of England starting in the first week of July.

BCCI's working committee last month appointed a seven-member committee, headed by Pawar, to select the new coach. The other members of the committee are Shah, board treasurer N. Srinivasan, joint secretary M.P. Pandove and former captains Sunil Gavaskar, Shastri and S. Venkataraghavan.

Although the panel has not met even once since its appointment over a month ago, Shastri was given the mandate to hold initial talks with Whatmore.

Whatmore, a Sri Lankan born former Australian Test player, has reportedly shown interest in the Indian job. He will be leaving Bangladesh at the end of his four-year tenure.

Whatmore has also been linked to the Pakistan Cricket Board, whose team is without a coach after Bob Woolmer's death during the World Cup in March the West Indies.

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