INTERIM West Indies Test team head coach Andre Coley is keen to stay on as head coach of the regional squad.
Coley faces his first official test at the helm for the upcoming three-Test tour of Zimbabwe and multi-format tour in South Africa. He was appointed interim head coach on December 21, for these two tours, after a meeting of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) board of directors.
This came after Phil Simmons stepped down from his role as head coach upon completion of the West Indies’ tour of Australia in early December.
Coley, speaking in his first official CWI press conference on Wednesday, since being appointed, said he is interested in serving the team as head coach in the long run. However, he is primarily focused on the upcoming two tours.
“As a coach or a player, you want to be able to operate at the highest level possible for as long as is professionally possible. So I’m honoured to have been asked to perform in this role (interim).
“As it relates to applying on a longer-term basis, I’m unaware as to where that process is at the moment. Because my focus is really around on focusing on the period that I have been engaged for, I haven’t given thought beyond that because of the key juncture or important period that we are in right now in our cricket.
“And I suppose when that time comes around, when that process is put on the table, I’ll give that some consideration but for now the real focus is what is in front of which is these tours.
“Having accepted this interim role should be an indication enough of an interest. But my focus right now is supporting the team in the best way possible.”
Coley said it was a “tremendous honour” to have been asked to lead the West Indies men’s team. He added that his focus, at the moment, is what’s in front of him.
Coley believes the next two and a half months (tours of southern Africa) are really important for both him and the team and wants to plan properly and give their best performances across the board.
He has been working with an array of players since he was appointed and said his “immediate goal” is to, as quickly as possible, to build a rapport with the players and captain to make sure they’re heading in the right direction.
“Kraigg Brathwaite (Test captain) and I have already started conversations regarding how we will operate on the tours. Just to be clear on how we want to approach things, inclusive of support staff and players. Just having really clear and open communication of how we are going to achieve the goals,” he added.
Coley, although appointed to serve on these two tours only, has gone ahead and planned a 12-month programme for the red ball teams.
After both Zimbabwe and South Africa tours, West Indies play host to India for two Tests, three One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals.
Coley remains committed to planning on a long-term basis, whether he remains at the helm or not.
“If you’re really thinking about it, regardless of whether I’m there after the South Africa series or not, the planning will encompass the 12 months. So regardless of who is in the role, it’s going to be important that whatever planning is done with a long-term view in mind.”
He added, “This upcoming series gives us a tremendous opportunity to actually regain some confidence following on from recent months.
“As we approach towards the middle of the year against India etc, we’re looking to build on that confidence that we would have gained over the upcoming two to three months. Lots of opportunities available and players are keen and want opportunity to play.”