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Tom Moody: Caribbean Premier League reigniting cricket excitement in West Indies

Tom Moody (right) is going to be the Director of Cricket for the CPL © Getty Images
Tom Moody (right) is going to be the Director of Cricket for the CPL © Getty Images

Tom Moody, the former Australian all-rounder has donned many hats since retirement. He has been a commentator and also went into coaching, having stints with Sri Lanka, Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad. He is now the International Director of Cricket at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Nishad Pai Vaidya spoke to Moody during the buildup of the second season of the CPL.

Tom Moody is now set to venture into cricket administration with his new role as the International Director of Cricket at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The former Australian all-rounder has dabbled in numerous roles in cricket and is now looking forward to the new challenge during the second edition of the CPL in the West Indies. In an exclusive chat with CricketCountry, Moody speaks about the new role, how T20 cricket can help West Indies, coaching in a T20 tournament and a lot more.

Excerpts:

CricketCountry (CC): You were a player and then were involved in coaching. Here is a new role for you as you get into administration. Are you looking forward to working with the Caribbean Premier League (CPL)?

Tom Moody (TM): I am obviously very excited to be involved in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in this role as the International Director of Cricket. Given, I have had experience in the game from a playing perspective, in a leadership role and as a coach and now branching out into a more administrative role is exciting; particularly in this form of the game (T20) where I have been heavily involved in many capacities.

CC: Not many players get into administration and we see many get into coaching. Do you believe there is a mental block that prevents players from getting into administration?

TM: No, I don’t think that is the case. Throughout the cricketing world, we see a lot of former players holding administrative posts. A couple who spring to mind are Hugh Morris, who was with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for many years; Tony Dodemaide has been involved in administrative capacities for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to senior roles for the Australian Cricket Board. And, even James Sutherland is a former First-Class cricketer who is the head of Cricket Australia (CA). There are a healthy number of former players involved in administration.

CC: How difficult is it coaching in the T20 format, given the fact that you have spent time in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the Kings XI Punjab and later the Sunrisers Hyderabad?

TM: It is certainly an exciting format and one of the challenge for coaches is that you are coaching for a tournament. When you are coaching a First-Class side or a national side, you are coaching all year round. You have a longer relationship and an association with the players and the group. In the CPL or the Indian Premier League (IPL), you are very much coaching for a tournament; trying to get a team to operate at their very best over a handful of weeks.

CC: How do you look back at your stint at Sri Lanka as a foreigner going into an alien setup and coaching the players?

TM: Coaching in different cultures is one of the exciting challenges I find fascinating in our game. Again, I have the opportunity to do that in the CPL. I haven’t worked in West Indies cricket before. I have coached against them but haven’t worked with them. To me that is one of the exciting challenges that cricket brings particularly T20. We have seen how the sport has become a richer product with the introduction of these Premier Leagues around the cricketing globe, where you have the foreign players playing alongside the local domestic players. You have some the world’s best players in the same dressing room for a common cause. That is one of the positives of T20.

CC: Coming back to the CPL. How important you think is this tournament for the Caribbean region?

TM: We saw last year, with the overwhelming success of the CPL, this is going to be the catalyst to reignite West Indies cricket. The important thing is that cricket is getting everyone, from the broad spectrum, interested and excited about the game. We all know how talented the cricketers are out of the Caribbean. What we need to do is to continue to grow the game in the Caribbean. It (CPL) is only going to increase the interest for cricket in the Caribbean. As this journey continues over the next few years, the product is going to get stronger and stronger. The interest is going to get greater and the cricket is going to get better and better.

CC: T20 cricket has had a few critics over the years, but there have been positive aspects that have emerged. What are your thoughts?

TM: I think T20 cricket has brought a broader interest of the public. We are getting a broader spectrum of people interested in the game. The public brought up cricket and the traditionalists love Test cricket and are very passionate about that. But, what T20 has done is that it has brought interest in different cultures and different age groups into our game. Whether they are young kids starting to play our game because of T20 cricket or more people watching, it creates healthy interest. From a player’s perspective, it has provided a greater challenge for them to expand their games. Earlier, it was said to be a ‘slogathon’, but it is very much more than that. We have seen over time that ones who uphold the basics and play proper cricketing shots have been successful. There was a fear that spin bowlers may be challenged or nearly made extinct in the T20 format, but they have become huge assets in your bowling attacks. Currently, the top T20 bowlers in the world are spinners. So, they are a very valuable commodity.

CC: So, do you think T20 cricket can take the game to places where the sport hasn’t been played a lot and generate interest?

TM: Yes, I think there is no doubt that T20 cricket is reaching out to more people. That is what I was talking about the CPL. What it is doing is that it is reigniting the excitement of the game here in the Caribbean. We know that there is a rich history in cricket here and a very proud history, which we all remember very fondly. It is reaching out to all cross-sections, young and old, and we are seeing packed stadiums and real enthusiasm for the game in the Caribbean. It is going to inject some real positives for West Indies in the future.

Tom Moody is the International Director of Cricket for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The CPL begins on July 11, 2014 in Grenada. For more information, visit CPLT20.com.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

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