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A big task for Dyson as West Indies coach

cricket Updated: Dec 11, 2007 20:57 IST
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Former Australian batsman John Dyson will leave Sydney Monday to begin the task of coaching the West Indies.

The West Indies side has won three of its past 40 Tests and victories have come against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and a Pakistan side missing five leading players.

As gruff as a nightclub bouncer, and every bit as uncompromising, Dyson, a former Sri Lanka coach, is not sugar-coating the task of coaching a team ranked a distant eighth in both Test and one-day cricket.

"Over the last 10 years, by anyone's standards, the West Indies have been playing some pretty average cricket. When I was coach of Sri Lanka I followed their performances closely, and I felt it was a squad underachieving," Dyson was quoted as saying by The Age here Tuesday.

"Certainly, they should be higher up the International Cricket Council (ICC) table than they are now. At the moment, you would have to say that there is only one player in that squad who is playing up to their potential, and that is (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul.

"With the other guys, you look at them and think, 'He's a better player than what he's showing on the park'. I need to get there, sit down with the players and find out what is wrong," he said.

It was against the West Indies that Dyson achieved his loftiest perch as a player, scoring a career-best 127 not out and snaffling the "catch of the century" of Sylvester Clarke in the Sydney Test in 1982.

Now, 25 years later, he hopes the Windies will provide him with the greatest triumph of his coaching career.

"I'm not a big believer in putting the broom through a place upon arrival. And I don't expect people to compare this West Indies squad with those of the '70s and '80s. What they did for international cricket was to introduce a form of professionalism and dedication never seen before," he said.