Richard Pybus: ‘Windies has great potential in Test cricket’

Richard Pybus, the new Windies head coach, is keen to improve the team’s consistency in high levels of performance.

Richard Pybus has been chosen as the Windies head coach on an interim basis. Photo: Getty Images

Windies’ recent struggles in Test cricket notwithstanding, “there is great potential to move forward” in the format, believes Richard Pybus, the team’s new head coach.

Windies has lost 11 of the 19 Tests it has played in the last two years.

Pybus, chosen on a temporary basis, will begin his tenure with home Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against England. Besides the bilateral assignments, he has also set sights on the World Cup, now five months away.

In an exclusive chat with Sportstar — his first after taking charge — Pybus opens up on the immediate road ahead.

Q. As the coach of Windies, what is your immediate target?

A. The target is to win every game we play.

The team has had two forgettable tours of India and Bangladesh. As the new coach, what are the areas that you would like to focus on?

The focus will be on the consistency in high levels of performance, both strategically and in execution.

It is observed that while the team struggles in the longest format, it excels in the shorter versions. How do you see this?

I believe it has great potential in Test cricket. The side has a maturing group of players who are ready to move the team forward. They have a core of experience and competition for spots. White-ball cricket is popular in the region, but the ODI side is still ranked ninth. Like the Test side, there is great potential to move forward, and the emergence of some exceptional young talent to go with the established players.

You have also worked with the younger talents. Do you think there is a proper supply line in place for Windies cricket?

Yes, there is some great talent coming through. Talent doesn’t mean winning, though. The continued professionalisation of first-class cricket and the high-performance programme challenging this talent to produce are going to be critical.

One of your biggest challenges will be the World Cup. With barely five months left for the tournament, have you drawn up a strategy?

We have a strategy to execute. Before that, the England series will be important in seeing where we are at with this.

The Windies has "great talent coming through," notes Richard Pybus. Photo: AFP

 

With some of the youngsters in the ranks, the side can spring in a surprise in the World Cup. But how important will it be for you to ensure that seniors, too, make the cut?

Competition for places is the integrity check for all high-performing teams. And, Windies is no different.

Chris Gayle pulled out of the India tour and has been away from international duties. Do we get to see him in the World Cup? Or will Windies think of Plan B?

I can’t speak on selection, I’m not a selector.

Your predecessor, Stuart Law, in an interview to me, had stated that the franchise leagues have done Windies cricket more harm than good. What are your thoughts?

The evolution of T20 is exciting and fascinating as well. It is great for the game. But the challenge for all the boards is to understand how to regulate it for the benefit of cricket. The players want to do well there as it helps them economically. The challenge is how to get them make a balance between the leagues and international cricket.

Lastly, what are the realistic chances of Windies in the World Cup?

We will be a dangerous side to under-estimate.