Clive Lloyd interview May 30, 2006

Leading the invincibles

Clive Lloyd speaks to Siddhartha Vaidyanathan on captaincy, slow West Indies pitches and having the right attitude

It was impossible to miss the glint in the eyes. For a man who captained arguably the greatest side that stepped on a cricket field, Clive Lloyd couldn't hide his excitement as West Indies homed in on a 4-1 series win. While watching the final one-dayer at the Queen's Park Oval, Lloyd spared some time for Cricinfo, talking about the challenges of leading a bunch of invincibles.

Clive Lloyd: 'We were very professional, that's why we won' © Getty Images

It must have been difficult to captain a great side?
These guys came to play with me for the first time. You see many players for the first time and say that this guy is a good player, yet they never make it. But we managed to get them to understand what they represent and be professional. And we worked together as a team and it paid off. And I hope this team [current West Indian side] coming up now will probably do the same thing.

What qualities did you look for in a player?
You look for talent, you look for the way he approaches things, you look for his attitude. Because if you want to gain altitude, you have to have the right attitude. A player has got to have some skill or talent to get there. You look for how you approach the game, and how you approach life in general because cricket is not only a sport, but also about things outside of sport.

How much planning went on before a game?
What the analysts are doing now, we did it by ourselves. We studied the batsmen and watched how they play, where they got most of their runs. We sort of noted it down and worked in our mind exactly how to bowl and have our field placings. So we were doing what the computers are doing now. And we did one to 11, not one to seven.

Did it also matter to you, how you played your cricket? Did you play to entertain?
We did not play to entertain all the time. We were very professional that's why we won, we were also very disciplined.

How did you handle a player like Viv Richards?
He realised we are all professionals too and some of the guys are just as good. We had guys out there who just wanted to win, and they were disciplined and professional enough. Everybody was quite happy to play, we were all friends, we were like a family.

You revolutionised the way the world looked at fast bowling but how does it feel to see matches played on slow wickets in the West Indies?
When we played, the wickets were quite slow too, they were not quick, but we had guys who were pretty tall and could exploit any sort of conditions. That is why they were great; they could bowl on all types of pitches.

What was it like having the best and most menacing pace attack at your disposal?
It was good to have all those guys, we didn't have them all the time but once we settled down, it was good to know that whatever team we played against or whatever pitch we played on, we knew we could win.

How much of the success of that team had to do with the pride of the people you represented?
It is important, because when you go to a firm and apply for the job, the most important question is what you want to join this for. The people who went before us, created something for us, so we were joining a very elite band of people, who made all West Indians proud and we wanted to do the same thing. Once you know where you came from you knew where you were going.

People talk about setting benchmarks as a great team. Did you need to get great players to become greater as the days went on?
They gradually got to that stage, they started out as ordinary players then they gradually increased things because they became very professional. They played in England. As a professional in England you need to be disciplined as you could be playing 17 days straight. So your attitude to life needs to be pretty good.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo