South African Mickey Arthur is not the front-runner to replace Ottis Gibson as coach of the West Indies senior team.
That’s the word from West Indies Cricket Board president Dave Cameron, as he has moved to scotch suggestions in some circles that Arthur, reportedly a friend of WICB’s director of cricket, Richard Pybus, is slated to take over from Gibson.
Arthur previously coached Australia between 2011 and 2013 before being relieved of the post. Prior to that he had been in charge of his native South Africa between 2005 and 2010.
“His [Arthur] name has been mentioned by the Press, not by the West Indies Cricket Board. We have been accepting applications, and have shortlisted a couple of people and are having talks with them. We expect that this process will take a few months, as mostly everybody is already contracted, but it will be very transparent,” Cameron said.
The 46-year-old Arthur was recently in the Caribbean as coach of the Jamaica Tallawahs in the recently concluded Limacol Caribbean Premier League. Last month he was also listed as a front-runner along with fellow ex-South African coach, Ray Jennings, for the position of coach of Sri Lanka.
Despite calls in some circles for a West Indian to take up the position of coach and in the wake of comments from West Indies batting great and former Bangladesh coach Gordon Greenidge, that the services of former regional players were not being adequately utilized, Cameron said the board had not adopted a policy position as to whether or not the coach should be West Indian.
“There is no preference at this point,” he said, while indicating that it was hoped that the coaching vacancy would be filled by later this year. Over the next few months the West Indies team have a packed itinerary.
West Indies, who are presently being coached by manager Sir Richie Richardson for the series against Bangladesh, are scheduled to travel to India next month for three Tests, five one-dayers, and a one-off Twenty20. They will then travel to South Africa, where they are scheduled to play three Tests, five one-dayers, and three Twenty20s in December and January. The ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will then follow in February and March 2015.
Meanwhile the West Indies board has defended its decision not to sanction two players who have skipped the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh to play in the Champions League Twenty20 competition in India, but insisted there was no wavering on its new West Indies First policy.
Last week, the WICB released the squad for the first Test against the Bangladeshis with the notice that “two players who were considered for selection to the Test squad have opted to play in the Champions League which has an ICC approved window on the international schedule. The players’ decisions will not have any deleterious effect on consideration for future West Indies selection.”
That statement has been challenged by former chairman of selectors Michael Findlay who suggested that when the selectors sought to choose the team for the next series, the question of player availability would again put speculation in their selection process. However, WICB chief executive officer Michael Muirhead said the board had to take responsibility for this particular situation.
“We have never played cricket this late in the season and normally players are on leave and we have infringed on that break and it happens that it also clashes with the Champions League,” Muirhead said. He added that “none of the other nations committed to playing in that  window. We felt we would not seek to penalise any player. It’s still Windies first; we are very strong on that.”
Asked why the Bangladesh series had been scheduled at this time, Muirhead called the situation an “anomaly” and added: “We had to do some movement to accommodate CPL [Caribbean Premier League]. There was some shifting in the scheduling and it just happened this way and we had no alternative.”
The Champions League is scheduled to run from September 13 to October 4.
Muirhead insisted that the WICB’s Windies First policy would be in full effect when England come to the Caribbean next year.
“Next year during the IPL we will be playing England and its [leniency] would certainly not hold for that . . . . We are informing players in advance about the schedule as to what their commitment to West Indies cricket is going forward, and we expect that decisions will be made to put West Indies cricket first.”