Matches (28)
WI v ENG (1)
IND v AUS (1)
SA v BAN (W) (1)
Abu Dhabi T10 (3)
Legends League (1)
IND v ENG (W-A) (1)
Hazare Trophy (18)
WI v IRE (EME) (1)
NZ v PAK (W) (1)
Couch Talk

'As a coach you cannot ignore the experience the players bring'

Tom Moody talks about his experiences coaching various teams, winning two World Cups, and his role at the CPL

Subash Jayaraman: You won two World Cups, in 1987 and 1999. What was it like, making your ODI debut in a World Cup?
Tom Moody: It wasn't my first time in India. I had the good fortune to experience India with the Australia Under-19 team in the early '80s. I knew what to expect. I knew there were going to be challenging opportunities both on and off the field. It sprung on to me a little earlier than expected. I was one of the younger members of the World Cup squad in 1987. I played in some of the earlier games, but unfortunately when we got to the end of the tournament, I tore an intercostal muscle. I then found myself as a drinks waiter for the rest of the games.
SJ: How different were the two teams, under Allan Border and under Steve Waugh?
TM: Very different. In 1987, we were very much outside favourites going into the World Cup. Nobody even thought twice about us going into the last four, let alone playing in the final. It was a watershed time for Australian cricket. A lot of players were new. It was really only Allan Border who stood out like a lighthouse in Australian cricket at that time.
In 1999 we had a team full of superstars who had wonderful careers and were still on top of their game - Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh... We went into that World Cup as bang-on favourites. In a way that was the biggest obstacle we faced - coming in with a favourites tag, and potential complacency that can come with that. Thankfully we got to a point where we managed to pull things right on time, even though it was in the last minute, because we had to win our last seven games to be crowned champions.
SJ: How did your role change with the times in the Australian side till 2001, when you retired?
TM: There were a lot of Australian players in the 1990s who were like taxis standing in a queue at an airport, waiting for that opportunity to get a handful of games. You can name a number of Australian players who could have played a lot more Test cricket than they did. The likes of Stuart Law, Michael Bevan, Martin Love, Darren Lehmann, Jamie Cox. The reason they didn't was because we were such a powerful unit at that time. There was a huge list of batsmen who scored big volumes of runs in first-class in Australia and in county cricket that were putting pressure constantly and waiting for an opportunity in that era of dominance.
SJ: You have coached a state side, franchise and a national side as well. How does your approach vary?
TM: It has to vary. The first challenge is that the players may be at different stages with regards to their development. You may have a young team or a mature team. Your coaching style needs to adjust accordingly. You also then have the cultural challenges. That is one of the big reasons why I took the opportunity with Sri Lanka, because I wanted to experience coaching in the subcontinent. You have to be chameleon-like and adapt to various cultures, personalities and stages, and the teams and the individuals within that.
SJ: What are your thoughts on the current state of Western Australia cricket? How far has [coach] Justin Langer taken the team?
TM: Justin has done a wonderful job with Western Australia. He is one of Western Australia's favourite sons; we have been lucky in the west to produce some very good cricketers and he is one of them. He has done a great job with a young, talented group of players over the last couple of years. With the retirement of Chris Rogers, the likes of Cameron Bancroft might get a look in at the top of the order much sooner than he anticipated. His progress and development as a player has been fast-tracked under the guidance of someone like Justin.
"You don't have to shove it [data] down people's throats because there are some people who will resist that information and it doesn't stimulate or motivate them"
SJ: With Sri Lanka, you worked with a lot of veterans in the side like Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Murali, Chaminda Vaas. How do you deal with that?
TM: When you are in a side like that, you are not the only artist in producing the masterpiece. Each of those players you talked about played a role in constructing the masterpiece. They all pick up a paintbrush and want to stick to that team and help you construct a future. If you step away and ignore their vast experience, their leadership and everything else that it brings to the table, it is a foolish approach. You have to take advantage of the qualities that are around you.
SJ: Are you primarily a strategist or do you take care of the technical side of things? How do you mix and match?
TM: I like to think that I have a fair balance of the various things that are required. I enjoy the technical side of the game, both the bat and ball. It also has a lot to do with the fact that I was an allrounder. I also feel very comfortable tactically. I have seen a lot of cricket and have been involved in cricket for many years and been surrounded by some wonderful players that I have learned form. The key to the coaching side of things is the understanding of all those things, but it is your management skills and communication skills. As I said early on, they can vary from one group of players to another.
SJ: In first-class and at the national level, you have the players around the year for you, whereas in franchise cricket you have players from around the world for six to eight weeks. How do you implement your strategies?
TM: It is very different. You are not diving in, concerning yourself too much with technique. A lot of them have come from professional environments and have their own coaches and their own plans. Two, you build a relationship with those players. Equally, they build a relationship with their fellow colleagues. It is creating a healthy professional and social environment because at the end of the day, a happy team, a team enjoying themselves, is more consistent and going to give you more day in and day out than one that is not enjoying the journey. Generally, happy teams work harder as well. Trying to create and bring all that together is one of the challenges in franchise cricket.
SJ: In T20 cricket, every single delivery is a huge event. Whereas in Test matches, you have time to work on things. How do you approach the use of big data at T20, first-class and Test levels? Is there more data used in T20 than in other formats?
TM: It is evenly spread. Data is important to have as back-up material, but what is more important is to have an understanding of the game. You cannot just rely on data, because when you are out there and there is a player under pressure, you can't rely on the percentages of doing this or that and the probabilities of it being successful or not. You have to be able to react and perform under pressure and make those smart decisions. It is important to have that information. You don't have to shove it down people's throats because there are some people who will resist that information and it doesn't stimulate or motivate them. But there are some players who swallow it up and absolutely thrive with that information. That is the same with the video analysis, where you hand it out in a measured way so that you are using it in a positive way against being negative.
"There is a huge cricketing community in the USA. The brand of the Caribbean league has the capacity to carry through to the American market"
SJ: In T20s, were there any preconceived notions about the job? For example, people said spinners will have no role to play.
TM: I went in pretty much with an open mind. What I did know was that there are still new people who had a good base to their technique and are going to be successful in T20 games. The best example is that of Michael Hussey. People got a little carried away with the thought that it was a slogger's game. But what they saw was that the most successful and consistent T20 players are the ones who had a strong base technique. Very few survive by just clearing the front leg and slogging every ball out of the ground, because it just doesn't work that way. The bowlers have become wiser, changing the pace and variety, and captains and strategies have become wiser too.
SJ: Your role in the CPL is director of cricket. You did that role at Worcestershire too. What does the job entail?
TM: CPL is catching the imagination of the people not only in the Caribbean but also globally. It is what we align our imagination to - "calypso cricket", flaring cricket, full of colourful music. With all that, some stunning, athletic performances out in the middle. My role was brought in by the management a couple of years ago to bring some current cricket expertise to management level. The CPL is owned independently from the West Indies Cricket Board and the management felt that they didn't have the expertise at that time. I advise them on all cricketing matters - from cricketers to grounds and everything else possible. I also play an important role in recruitment, when it comes to attracting the international stars in the CPL. It is becoming an easy role to do because it is now a tournament people really want to be a part of.
SJ: It has been noted that you plan on having some CPL matches in USA and Canada too. What does that mean for the league and the countries concerned?
TM: I think it will be a positive. You can break into new markets. That can only be a positive for the Caribbean. There is a huge cricketing community in the USA. If the CPL does end up playing a handful of games there, I think it will be wonderful. The brand of the Caribbean league has the capacity to carry through to the American market.
We have some major steps to make before any of this becomes a reality. It is not taking cricket away from the Caribbean, it is helping cricket grow in the Caribbean. What we have seen in the first three CPL seasons is how big it has impacted the interest in the game, the following, and most importantly - at junior level - the re-engagement of the game of cricket, which we will hopefully see in five to ten years' time for the fruits to bear with more West Indian cricketers knocking on the door, wanting to play the game that we are professionally involved in.
SJ: You have been a player, a coach, administrator, commentator - is there any particular line of work that you want to stick to, or do you want to be an "allrounder" like the player you were?
TM: It hasn't happened by design. I stepped away from international coaching after the World Cup in 2007 in the Caribbean, when I was with Sri Lanka, mainly because of my life. I had a young family and I wanted to commit my time to them, during that critical development stage and seeing the kids through school. I felt that it was an important sacrifice to make, though it would be wonderful to continue my crusade as an international coach. But it is a challenging role. Now I have got to the stage where the kids have moved through school and are at university. The importance of me being there 24x7 is not as critical as it was earlier. So I have got to have an open mind as to where my future lies. I am very lucky to have the opportunities that I have got now. I am very happy doing each and every one of those things. But who knows what tomorrow is going to bring.