by David Harris
Vasbert Drakes is not amused.
And it all has to do with the lack of respect which he says regional coaches and trainers are experiencing right on their very own Caribbean doorsteps.
Just over 24 hours after it was announced that South African-born Mickey Arthur and English-born Tim Nielsen had been appointed by organisers of the Caribbean Premier League to coach the 2013 champions Jamaica Tallawahs and Antigua Hawksbills respectively, Drakes told Barbados TODAY that neither had outstanding records and questioned whether this was a case of a colonial mentality being played out in the region once again.
“I want it to be known that foreign coaches are not better than us and it must be said that our people can get the job done. I am making this call in light of the appointments of Australians to new coaching positions in the up-coming Caribbean Premier League tournament; the appointments of Mickey Arthur as the new coach of the Jamaica Tallawahs and Tim Nielsen as new coach of the Antigua Hawksbills. These are two coaches who do not have an outstanding record and yet they are coaching in the CPL,” Drakes said.
Drakes, who played 12 Tests and 34 One-Day Internationals for the West Indies, said there were several coaches around the region who were capable of performing and filling such positions and queried whether this was a case of “a colonial mentality among some people that dictates to some people that only non-nationals are capable of doing certain jobs”.
Drakes, a widely travelled professional, is a level 3 high performance Australian-certified coach which is similar to the English Level 4 coach which is the highest international level.
“Why is it that there are some among us who believe that only those with foreign accents and spouting fancy jargon are capable of teaching and imparting skills to our people?” Drakes asked, while issuing a call to regional cricket administrators to create avenues for regional coaches to be exposed at the international level.
He added: “Most of our cricketers have played in several countries and even though it is not as powerful as before, West Indies cricket
is still a brand. We need coaches who are aware of what West Indies cricket means to the people of the region to impart their knowledge to our young cricketers or else the brand might die.”
And to give weight to his strong position. Drakes has been the man at the forefront of assisting off-spinner Shane Shillingford in rectifying his problematic bowling action. For six weeks he worked with Shillingford and today expressed his elation that the Dominican off-spinner had been given the all-clear by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to resume bowling again.
“It is very pleasing for me that Shane has been cleared by the ICC to bowl. I am happy that we achieved that objective in just six short weeks compared to the last time when it took six months when the rehabilitation of his bowling action was being supervised by foreign coaches,” the former Barbados and West Indies fast bowler told Barbados TODAY.
“I had full confidence in my ability, coaching skills and knowledge to execute Shane’s rehabilitation programme based on the biomechanics process and the flex of his bowling arm according to the conditions that were mandated by the ICC,” Drakes added.
Arthur, who has resettled in Perth, Australia, previously coached the Aussies but was fired by Cricket Australia after the team’s dismal Ashes tour to England last Summer. The 45-year-old coached South Africa between 2005 and 2010. The 45-year-old Nielsen who played state cricket in Australia for many years, coached Australia between 2007 and 2011.
The Caribbean Premier League director, Tom Moody, said on the CPL’s website that organizers were extremely pleased to have secured such a strong line-up of “talented and respected” coaches for this year’s tournament.
“With their technical expertise, along with guidance from our legendary mentors, the standard of cricket this year is set to be higher than ever.”