Coach Gibson - Setting high standards
Editor’s note: The following article appeared in the WICB Regional 50 Over Tournament Guide 2010. With the Regional Super50 coming up later this month it remains as relevant as it was a year ago. We reproduce it below with minor edits for relevance.
Ottis Gibson is the man chosen by the West Indies Cricket Board to chart the way forward for the people’s game in the Caribbean. As the Head Coach of the West Indies team, he has prepared the road map for the development of the game in the region.
In his playing days as a fast bowling all-rounder he represented the West Indies in the 1990s and also played professionally in England, Australia and South Africa. After retiring from the game, he was named as Fast Bowling Coach for the England team. In February, he returned home to the Caribbean and in conjunction with the WICB management he is now putting in place the pathway for the region’s best players to move from the grassroots level to the international stage. Ahead of the start of the WICB 50 Over Tournament, the 41-year-old shared his views on the game in the region and the way forward.
What are your expectations for the Tournament?
Generally, we would like to see decent scores on the board. Ideally, we would like to see the batsmen bat as long as is required and to put up good scores as well as play quality innings. It is also important for the players to have clear game plans and we want to see people who can adapt to the conditions they are presented with and make the adjustments as required and produce good performances. In the past we have seen scores of 180 and 200 – which suggest people have not been able to adapt – so we want to see a change from that mindset. We want to see strong performances from the established players, who have a lot to do in terms of the quality of the cricket we are looking for, and be the leaders, so we can see good quality cricket.
The Tournament, will give all the players in the Caribbean a good opportunity to showcase their talent. They will be some guys the selectors will have question marks over and others who have not been selected before. This tournament is a chance to say ‘here I am ... this is what I can do!” Players have to make it hard for the selectors to ignore them with strong performances. Also, ?elding will be key, as this is a main part of the game today. We want to see people with good character, people who set good standards for the teams, good attitudes and people who can think about the game and perform their roles with con?dence.
What are you looking for from West Indian players in general?
A more professional attitude is necessary going forward and a commitment to the cause. If the cause is getting West Indies cricket back on track, we need players who are willing to do whatever is needed towards improving the state of West Indies cricket. I keep saying that talent-wise, we are as good as other players around the world. What we want to see back in West Indies cricket is that attitude of doing whatever is required. We have people who are always willing and we need everyone to be on the same page.
What do you want to see from upcoming players?
Well-rounded individuals in the way they manage their lifestyles and players who have respect for the game and the history of the game. We would also like to see players who have a good and clear understanding of their own game. To be successful at the highest level, a player’s game needs to be able to stand up to the rigours of international cricket and all the challenges that come with it. International cricket is not a place to learn so we will be looking for players who understand what they’re about and who can perform under the pressure. Ultimately it comes down to performance and so we are looking to see people perform consistently. Our senior players have a role to play and to be role models for young players coming into the system.
What are the stepping stones to future development of players and West Indies cricket?
What will be important is looking to develop a team for the future and with that in mind, how many players we use will depend on how ?t players chosen will stay. We are trying to develop and work with a core group to move us forward. We want to get away from the chopping and changing. We have used a lot of players in the last four to ?ve years and a lot of them have come in and out of the team. Ideally, we need to stick with a group of players and ensure that these players are given every opportunity to cement their spot and also to move West Indies forward. Once we have identi?ed the talent, we have to look at what we have to do to make sure the players are successful. We need to assist the players and provide them with the resources to cope with the demands of playing at the international level.
Interview by Philip Spooner