“It was a disappointing finish, but we still go some positives out of it,” Whatmore told CricketNext. “Sadly, we were up against a team that was still on top of their game.
“They have got every good reason to think that they can win the competition, which would make it two years in a row, and we’ve had to play them in the knockouts in two consecutive seasons.
“They’re a good team and we didn’t play very well.”
Speaking about what was the key difference between the two sides, the former Sri Lankan coach pointed to the knocks played by Vidarbha’s veterans – Faiz Fazal and Wasim Jaffer. The duo added a priceless 80 runs for the second wicket in the first innings which put the visitors in command of the game. However, Whatmore was left wondering ‘what if’ the Vidarbha skipper, who went on to register a crucial 75, had not been given a life on the first ball of his innings,
“Faiz was out on a no-ball at the very beginning of his innings,” he rued. “It was not intentional but such things happen. His partnership with Jaffer is what killed the game.
“We took five for 37 today plus two wickets yesterday at the end for barely any runs, which is pretty decent. Ifs and buts don’t count but you’re left wondering what it could have been.”
Despite the tame end to the season, the 64-year-old believes that the team and Kerala cricket are heading in the positive direction after a what has been a record finish for the side.
“We did a quick review after the game, and also of the whole season,” he said. “Lots of good things have come out of this season, but today was just not a good day for us. It was an anticlimax for me and the whole team. We are down a little bit now. But from the perspective where the team and Kerala cricket is, we’re in a very good space. And we’re already plotting to improve next year.
“We have shown our ability to play on seaming wickets this season. We have won away from home twice, on wickets that we are not usually good at. Looking ahead, our pace bowling gives us confidence. Of course, we need to improve our batting but we did have a number of centurions along the way. We need more from our batsmen, to give our bowlers a good chance.
“The Ranji Trophy is a fairly long campaign, so now we’re going to have a little bit of time off and regroup for the T20s (Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy), early or the middle of February.”
Dav WhatmoreFaiz FazalKerala CricketRanji Trophy 2018-19Ranji Trophy 2018/19Vidarbha Cricketwasim jaffer
First Published: January 25, 2019, 5:24 PM IST