Cricinfo exclusive May 13, 2005

'It's an honour to be associated with the India team'

Desmond Haynes is the latest entrant into the contest to find India's new coach. Haynes spoke cheerfully about the offer, his experience and his approach to the coaching job in this exclusive interview:

Desmond Haynes: 'I play fair, but I like to play tough' © Getty Images

When did you decide to enter the fray?
They [the Indian board] were trying to get in touch with me for couple of weeks, but last week I decided to take up the offer. It's an honour to be associated with the India team.

Do you have a vision for Indian cricket?
At the moment it's just an interview that I am going to attend, so I have nothing to say about the plans and what I've got to bring to Indian cricket and all that. If I was given the job, obviously, my first job would be to get to know the players - to know what makes them click, how we can get them to perform. Then I would outline my style: I play fair, but I like to play tough.

How did you get involved in coaching?
It started from my young days where, as a young boy, I started preparing wickets in the area I grew up in. When I joined Barbados I was always the guy willing to offer advice when I saw things. During my playing days on the English county circuit for Middlesex and then in South Africa for Western Province, apart from playing, I was involved in coaching a lot of youngsters like Mark Ramprakash, Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs, to name a few. My first job as a fulltime coach was for Sussex from 1996 to 1999, and then as a batting coach for Hampshire. In 2002 I was the batting coach for Barbados.

What do you consider your strengths as a coach?
I have got the eye to pick up flaws and correct them. And a lot of people have always told me that and that's what always encouraged me to coach players.

Have any of the India players spoken to you about a possible coaching offer?
None. But over the years I've had a very good relationship with some of the former Indian players, and that is a plus point for me.

What are India's strengths as a team?
They have got a very, very famed batting line-up. Also, with a few young fast bowlers, along with the spinners like Harbhajan Singh, they look good.

What do you think about the reports of the suggestion to appoint a foreign coach or consultant to work in tandem with an Indian manager or assistant?
It would be fantastic to work with an Indian assistant, as then it would help me learn more about the guys. If I am offered a job to assist Indian cricket in any way I would accept it.

Nagraj Gollapudi is sub-editor of Wisden Asia Cricket