Business unusual - Incoming head coach Coley lays out plan for Scorpions
In about three weeks, new national senior cricket coach Andre Coley will take full control of the Jamaica Scorpions Franchise team, as his three-year contract comes into full effect on September 1.
The former Windward Islands coach made it clear that it won’t be business as usual, as he aims to pull the national team from the doldrums of regional cricket.
Jamaica has not won a regional trophy in over six years, with their best finish being second place in the Regional Super 50 three years ago. The last time Jamaica lifted the limited-overs cup was way back in the 2011-2012 first-class season when they beat Trinidad in the final.
Gone were the days when the Jamaicans rattled up five consecutive regional four-day championships between 2008 and 2012 under then-head coach Junior Bennett and captain Tamar Lambert, and Coley believes the nation can get back to winning ways as he thinks Jamaica’s cricket is in a good place.
“There is no doubt that we have a bunch of talented youngsters, but one of the things I want to do right off the bat is to understand the goals and objectives of the administration and then gather information on the players. I believe the mental aspect of our cricket has been extremely lacking and consistency will be a major focus moving forward, I will be doing a full inventory to find out the skill-set and experience that I have at my disposal, and that will give me a better understanding as to where we stand and how we move forward,” said Coley.
The former Kingston College player says he will be implementing a depth chart system similar to what he introduced during his stint with the Windward Islands franchise.
“With the depth chart, I will know who my batters, bowlers, keepers are in sequential order so that there is a system that will breath healthy competition within the set-up. Once these things are in place it will take some time to begin to bear fruit so patience will also be a key factor for this team and I believe with the talent that we have at our disposal, it will be only a matter of time before we start winning again,” he added.
Coley, who describes himself as a hands-on coach, holds a Level Three coaching certificate from Australia. The former West Indies under-19 wicketkeeper says that another area of concern that needs immediate attention is fitness.
“Fitness to me is of utmost importance. If the players are physically fit, they can handle the mental aspect of the game better. Concentration has always been a problem for regional batsmen, and if we can get the players to be critical thinkers for longer periods, everything else will fall into place.”
When asked by The Gleaner if he was under any pressure to win immediately, Coley had this to say: “One thing I will tell you is that during my discussions with the Jamaica Scorpions CEO and president, we were all on the same page with regard to moving our cricket forward. As to how long that will take, I don’t know, but I will also add that winning is always important and we will always strive for that,” Coley shared.
Coley, who had assistant coaching roles with the senior West Indies Men’s and Women’s team as well as head coach duties with the West Indies under-19 team, says that he jumped at the opportunity to return home, having been on the road since 2009.