Barbadian Head Coach of Windies team warns against complacency with Zimbabwe – Digicel Media Release
Newly appointed West Indies Head Coach Ottis Gibson has warned that – despite their lowly ranking – Zimbabwe are not to be taken for granted and that if they are the result could be disastrous.
“If we take Zimbabwe for granted what happened in Australia could easily continue. We have to get together as a group and outline what needs to be done and what are the key challenges we face and how I want to see how things shaping,” Gibson said at a media conference at the University of the West Indies St Augustine campus on Friday while taking a break from observing the Zimbabwe v Vice Chancellor’s XI contest.
The 40 year-old Barbadian who has taken charge of the team for the Digicel Twenty20 at the Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday also declared that the unsuccessful recently concluded tour of Australia must be treated as history and the team must move on.
“It has been a difficult tour for them in Australia, we all recognize that. As far as the mental work that needs to be done, I think first of all we need to put to bed what happened in Australia and focus on the Digicel Series against Zimbabwe which is going to be a challenge for us and spend time planning and preparing for that,” Gibson lamented.
Gibson who, following the Digicel Twenty20, will lead the team management unit into the five match Digicel One Day International Series also against Zimbabwe in Guyana and St Vincent said we is weary of focusing on the negatives.
“If we focus on the negatives all the time it can sometimes lead to a negative mindset,” Gibson reasoned in a frank session with the media.
“What we’ve got to try and do is look ahead to what we have coming up and plan and prepare very well for that. If we can do that we will take steps towards going into the Digicel Series and looking to win it,” Gibson said.
When questioned about how he will change the team environment Gibson was careful to point out that he comes in with a fresh pair of eyes and is not particularly interested in focusing on hearsay analysis.
“I don’t know what went on before, I haven’t been there. What I do know is that in the make-up of a cricketer you have technical aspects, the tactical aspects, the physical attributes, the mental aspects and (the need to) cope with the demands of international sport. All those are key areas I am concerned about,” Gibson said while alluding to the fact that he will begin his close-up assessment of the players from Friday evening when he will lead his first West Indies team meeting at the team hotel in Port of Spain.
And when the inevitable question was raised in comparing the current generation of players to the players of the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s Gibson said that the most prominent lesson from those years was in the leadership of legendary captain Clive Lloyd.
“Everybody keeps taking us back to the glory days. What I like about those years was that Clive Lloyd was able to get the team to play for one common cause. We can identify a brand of cricket we want to represent as a team. And when people come into the stands and watch us they can see this is what we’re trying to do,” said Gibson who left his job as bowling coach with the England cricket team to take up the Windies post which has had six different candidates since 2004.
From that time to Gibson’s appointment, Roger Harper, Gus Logie, Bennett King, David Moore, John Dyson and David Williams have all served – for various lengths of time – as West Indies Head Coach.
Gibson said that there are basic areas where small and incremental changes can be made to improve the overall performance of the team while warning that the process will not be an overnight one and that immediate results are not to be expected.
“In England the environment is very professional. England has a lot of financial resources that they can call on to get things done. The West Indies Cricket Board is not in the same position and we have to accept that but there are basic things that we can do to try and start and those are the things I will be focusing on,” said Gibson who played first class cricket extensively in the Caribbean, England and South Africa during a 17 year career which ended when he retired at the end of the English County season in 2007.