Cricket is our uniting force, says King | india | Hindustan Times
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Cricket is our uniting force, says King

In a chat with G Krishnan, Bennett King throws more insight into his role as the coach of West Indies and tough task on hand.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 23:02 IST
G Krishnan

Bennett King's previous record in an International Cricket Council (ICC) event was a disaster. He was the coach of Australia under-19 in the Junior World Cup in Dhaka in 2004. The team was relegated to the Plate Division, where it lost to Bangladesh.

However, in his second ICC event, King is keen to more than make up and will settle for nothing less than guiding the West Indies so that they retain their title in the Champions Trophy. He would also like to regain glory at the World Cup next year.

The 41-year-old from Queensland, Australia, had a tough task on hand when he took over as the coach of the then brittle West Indies side towards the end of 2004. Contract disputes between the players and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) put him right in the centre of turmoil in his first assignment, a tour to his home country.

Adapting to diverse Caribbean cultures and uniting a fragmented group of islands increasingly influenced by non-cricketing America has probably been King's prime achievement in his two years as the coach.

King, besides facing the regular questions before an international, threw more insight into his role on Monday.

Excerpts from a chat:

King on uniting players from different islands and ensuring that they stay focussed: We try and develop a cricket culture among the players. Different nations play differently and have different styles. Former players try and help spread that cricket culture and will have a role to play in the future. We focus on the culture of cricket rather than the culture of the Caribbean. The guys are from the West Indies except that they come from different parts. The uniting force over the years in the Caribbean has been cricket, and that goes back to the days of Sir Frank Worrell. He said that it was the 'West Indies team'. That is what this team is. We keep encouraging that approach and the players are doing a very good job of it.

On the way he and consultant Clive Lloyd go about their job: He tells the boys stories of his playing days and gives his ideas. I encourage him to talk to the players about things that happened in the past.

On the role of a coach in the era of the support staff: Some people are blessed with a lot of resources and financial assistance. We aim to be creative and make the most of what we have. The players certainly have been getting their batting time or their bowling time and if it is a one-on-one time, we have to try and encourage them and work on them.