Q&A with Windies Head Coach Ottis Gibson

Kingston, Jamaica - West Indies Head Coach Ottis Gibson fielded questions from the media at a media conference in Kingston on Wednesday morning.

Following are his responses on a variety of issues which were asked of him.

On Darren Sammy’s appointment to West Indies Test Captaincy:

From what I have seen of Darren Sammy for the short time that I’ve been here I’m sure (he) will do an excellent job and will always give of his best.

Darren Sammy as a cricketer and as a leader always plays with passion. Any time you talk about Darren Sammy you talk about the fact that he looks like he has got passion for the game. We’ve put somebody who shows that passion in place as the leader. Hopefully when he leads he continues to lead in that way.

What we don’t want is for him to get the job and change the way he is. I said to him already that he must be his own man and make sure that we as management will take as much stress off him so he can do his job.

On Brendan Nash’s appointment to West Indies Test Vice Captaincy:

Brendan Nash since he’s been here has been very professional. Growing up in Australia, he’s got a steely Australia attitude, meticulous with his preparation. That’s what I see of Nash and that’s what I hope he brings to his role as the Vice Captain of the team – to lead in that regard, continue to show the younger players in the team in that way.

On the West Indies Test squad:

The Selectors have picked a team in trying to chart the way forward for the West Indies in the coming years.
There have been some strong decisions made by the Selectors and the Board but the one thing I am very clear on is that we’re in the decision making business and West Indies cricket, from where it sits currently, needs strong decisions and those are the decisions the Selectors have taken.

It’s an exciting time for Darren and Brendan but also for some of the young guys who have gotten picked.

On the non-selection of Ramnaresh Sarwan:

Leaving out a player of Sarwan’s ability – he’s done well for West Indies over his time as a player – it was a tough decision, it was a decision that took some deliberation. It came down to whether we can continue to take Sarwan on tour and then have one of our best players not available to us for selection all the time (while on tour).

I was consulted and it took a long time to decide which way we were going to go with (Sarwan). Sars has had his issues with fitness before and the decision was taken to give him more time to get fit. I still think he’s got a lot more contributions to make to West Indies cricket and that gives him the opportunity to do the things he knows he needs to do to not just get fit but stay fit to make those contributions.

He’s an elite athlete. That’s what cricketers are nowadays and they look after their fitness. That’s something that everybody else (in world cricket) is doing and if it is proving successful for them we have to get on board as well and our players have to understand that.

On touring Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka is a tough place to play cricket. We’ve picked a team with two things in mind:

i) To go (to Sri Lanka) and do well and
ii) To try and move West Indies cricket forward from the place where it currently sits which is a low place in the standings of world cricket. We’re trying to move forward from there and this team represents a move towards the future.

On the role of players:

The senior players have a huge job to play leading the team and putting scores on the board. We haven’t put scores on the board consistently.

We’re hoping to expose a few players. We’ve got Russell and Thomas on tour for the first time. Darren Bravo has been involved but he hasn’t played a Test as yet. Adrian Barath has only played two Tests so we’re exposing young players and we’re hoping that they show the promise that we see in them.

On the selection of wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Thomas:

Thomas’ selection comes at the back of a very good stint at Sagicor HPC in Barbados. He has had rave reviews when they went on tour in Canada. The thinking of the Selectors is that the subcontinent is a tough place to tour and if you’re going on a tour like that you need to have cover in specialist positions so therefore the view of taking two keepers is exactly that.

On Andre Russell:

When I see Andre Russell he excites me. He is a big tall fella and he has got some pace. We took the decision to take him along and it will give me an opportunity to work with him and introduce him into the international arena that way.

On playing with passion:

The foundation of West Indies cricket is built on passion for the game and the team has been losing a lot in recent times and that passion has dwindled a little bit and we need to revive that passion. We need to get that passion back.