MARVAN Atapattu has admitted that his 10-day stint as Zimbabwe’s batting consultant will not be enough to bring about major change, but said he was looking forward to working closely with the team’s head coach Dav Whatmore. Atapattu arrived in Khulna on January 14, the day before the first T20 against Bangladesh, after being appointed in his new position on January 12 for the Bangladesh series.
“It’s a challenge to start with,” Atapattu said. “I’ll be here with these guys till the end of this series, and try to work with Dav (Whatmore), who I’ve known for years. I’ve to see if I can help them tactically and technically in the coming days.
“We’re playing a very good side, which’s on top of its game. They’ve played a lot of T20 cricket in the past.
“There’s not a lot you can do in 10 days. But as I said, I’ll be working very closely with Dav, who has been with them for the last one year.
“It’s a privilege to work with him. I’ll have to see what I can do as a coaching unit. I think I’ve been in the circuit for quite some time in the sub-continent and I’ve a bit of an idea of what’s going on. How individuals play their game overall. The experience helps.”
There is a chance Atapattu could succeed Andy Waller as Zimbabwe’s batting coach. Currently, Atapattu is only a consultant, but according to a Zimbabwe Cricket report, his “contract will be reviewed after the Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, with a view to entering into a longer relationship”. Atapattu, however, did not comment on his future with the Zimbabwe team, saying he was happy with the current deal.
“I resigned from Sri Lanka thinking that I need to give time for my family, which I haven’t done for the last 25 years. It’s my priority now so I’m happy with what I’m doing. I don’t want to be away from the game for too long. This is the game that I love and know best.”
Atapattu felt Zimbabwe had lost the first T20I in the penultimate over of their innings, bowled by Mustafizur Rahman, who removed the big hitters Elton Chigumbura and Luke Jongwe in consecutive deliveries. Zimbabwe took just one run in that over, and it ruined their final push as they had to settle for 163 for 7 in 20 overs.
“(A total of 163 runs) was certainly not enough,” he said.
“We were beaten in the 19th over. Obviously we were in a position to probably have at least 20 runs more in our total. But unfortunately we didn’t get that due to good bowling and not so much when it comes to smart batting. We’ll try to rectify it and we’ll try to do better in the next game.” — ESPNCricinfo.