'Bridging the gap between international, first-class cricket the major aim'

In an exclusive interview with Sportstar, Richard Pybus speaks about his new role as high-performance director of WICB, the dynamics of the coaching job and more.

The newly-appointed high-performance director of West Indies Cricket.   -  Twitter

From being champion at the World T20 a couple of years ago to crashing out of the Champions Trophy qualification last year, West Indies cricket has seen it all in the last few years. When it has produced some magical moments, the team has been mostly inconsistent in its performances.

And as Richard Pybus takes charge as the high performance director of the West Indies Cricket Board, he feels it is important to bring out talents from the grassroots level.

Read: Pybus appointed high-performance director by CWI

This, however, is a second stint for Pybus. The 53-year-old had held the position of Cricket director from 2013 to 2016--overseeing the West Indies' victories in two World T20s, an women’s World T20 and an U-19 World Cup.

In his new job, he would work alongside the chairman of selectors and all the technical coaches to improve the high performance programmes and standards in franchise cricket. 

Pybus, who was also one of the candidates for Team India coaching job last year, spoke exclusively to Sportstar late on Friday for his first interview to international media since taking up the new job.

Excerpts...

What would your target be in the new job?

Build out the high performance programmes across the region so that they are able to provide a level of consistent excellence in player development and elite performance.

In your earlier stint as the cricket director with West Indies, you had seen the West Indies regaining it's glory with U-19, T20 and Women's world cup titles. Now, how would you like to change the fortunes of the team?

I'm not in charge of the senior team - men or women. My job is streamline the programmes across the region and help develop elite talent through junior and senior programmes to feed into the senior team.

In the last couple of years, West Indies cricket has witnessed lows, what would be the roadmap for the next few years?

The target would be to build out capacity in the programmes, ensuring we identify and support our best young players. Supporting the franchise first-class set-ups to help them bridge the gap between international and first-class cricket is the major aim.

In the last few years, the team has  revolved around a few big names, what would the WICB be doing to ensure a smoother transition?

We would create as much depth and competition in first-class selection as possible. This keeps standards high and the system performance driven. Of course the feeder systems need to be strong too, feeding into first class cricket.

On personal front, you were one of the front-runners of Indian coaching job, but eventually missed out. How do you think has the coaching job evolved over the years?

At the elite level, much of the head coaches role is about player and performance management. I don't think that changes (have happened) over time. It's the same across all elite sports.

Lastly, a couple of years down the line, where lies the future of West Indies cricket?

Continuing to build out the right structures and system is important. If this can be done, it would be very successful.