West Indies Test skipper Kraigg Brathwaite believes new head coach Andre Coley is the right man for the job and has thrown his full support behind him.
Last Friday, the 48-year-old Coley’s appointment as head coach of the Test squad was announced. He had served as interim West Indies head coach since December 2022, following the resignation of Phil Simmons.
In an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY, Brathwaite, who most recently worked with the former Jamaican wicketkeeper during the West Indies tour of South Africa where they played two Test matches, said Coley had shown a hunger to win.
“Andre is very hungry to do well and lead the region to win Test matches, and I look forward to working with him.
“I was happy for coach Coley; we had a good stint in the previous two Test series. South Africa did not go to plan, but we fought well in patches, and I look forward to seeing how he leads us. He is a calm personality who has gained the guys’ respect,” Brathwaite said.
Coley, a former first-class player, has worked his way up through the coaching system leading the West Indies Under-19 team, the High-Performance Center, the West Indies ‘A’ team, and the WI Academy, which he has gained massive recognition for.
Brathwaite believes Coley’s personality will be his biggest asset.
“[Coley] is very organized. He communicates well, which I think is important given the guys are from different places across the region. He is a cool personality but is strict when he needs to be, which for me is most important, and I think he will do a fantastic job. I’ve communicated with him in the last couple of days, and we look forward to coming together and making the Caribbean proud,” the right-handed opener said.
Under Coley’s guidance, the regional side won the Test series against Zimbabwe and the T20 series against South Africa, while drawing the One Day International series.
And even though the Windies lost the two Test against South Africa, they were in good positions to push for a win.
Brathwaite said he had seen improvements in the team since Coley came on board.
“Team performances were key [in Zimbabwe], and we got all-round performances to win a Test match. In the past, we have been good in one department and not the other, but the key is to get guys to have all-round performances, which is never easy, but I think we did well in Zimbabwe.
“The main thing for us is to have consistency against any opposition, whether it be Zimbabwe, South Africa, or Australia. This is Test cricket and we are playing against the best players in the world, but once we come together as a unit and look to make the region proud….we have the ability to do it and win Test matches,” Brathwaite maintained.
However, there will be little of a honeymoon period for Coley as the WI will face their most challenging assignment of the year in July against World Test Championship finalists, India.
The Windies have lost the last eight Test series, home and away, to India and will need an enormous effort to end that streak.
Nonetheless, Brathwaite said Coley’s fresh ideas could be precisely what the Windies require to succeed.
“I am very excited to battle India; we know it will be challenging. They are the world’s number one or two team, but the guys are looking forward to it,” he said.
“To compete, we must show up in all three facets of the game. We need two or three guys to face more than 150 balls every innings, and as a bowling unit, the key for us is to start well with the new ball. We tend to pull things back well, but once we can all do our respective jobs, we will compete. Right now, the guys are working on technical stuff and preparing to face a world-class team in India.”