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Preparing for Interviews

July 10, 2014

Over the 11 years that I have been interviewing cricketers, I have used several approaches to prepare for one-on-one interviews.

For persons like Lawrence Rowe, I spent MANY days preparing. This was because I knew nothing about him, other than what was said about him in the media for going to South Africa. When he was playing, I didn’t used to like cricket. Hated it in fact. (That’s another story). So I approached the research like I was doing a project for my Masters.

Around that time, I decided I would start watching the U-19 cricketers so that when they got to the West Indies level, I knew something about them and it wouldn’t take so much time. Xavier Marshall was one such cricketer and when he got to the West Indies team, albeit that his was a short tenure, I felt I knew enough about his history not to have to do so much research.

But sometimes, there is literally no time to prepare. Like yesterday……

The good people responsible for organizing interviews for the Limacol CPLT20 tournament know that time is of the essence. So within a few hours of me making the request, I was sitting down with a young player from the Windward Islands who I was clueless about! While I sat in the lobby waiting on him, that’s when I did research. God bless Google and free WiFi!

After doing many interviews over they years, you tend to think you can go in with less preparation. But I don’t like getting facts wrong so I at least try and look at the stats. There’s a very good website called HowStat. That’s my first option. For regional stats I also use CricketArchive. God bless those people who enter the information and keep the sites updated! Wonder what the journalists used to do back in the day? I’m sure they would have needed weeks of notice of whether they would be granted an interview, so they could go back into the paper archives!

For some interviews, I write questions beforehand. The last such one I did was with Wavell Hinds. There are advantages and disadvantages of that. The advantage is that you don’t have to think up a question while listening to the response of the one you just asked. The disadvantage is that sometimes the cricketer says something which you should really probe. If you stick to the order of your planned questions, it might not make the interview as interesting as it could be.

The happy medium I think is to do the stats research, browse a few key articles and write down bullet points of what you’d like to cover in the interview.

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