West Indies’ search for a new coach has taken an unexpected turn.
Reports out of Antigua are that current manager of the regional side, Sir Richie Richardson, has indicated he is willing to take up the position on a full-time basis. The former West Indies captain has publicly stated that if he is offered the job, he will accept it. He did not reveal whether he had actually applied for the post.
Sir Richie also refuted suggestions that since the West Indies Cricket Board and former coach Ottis Gibson parted company he had acted as interim coach. The Antiguan knight, who led the West Indies team in 24 Tests between 1991 and 1995, revealed since Gibson’s sacking last month that former Test opener Stuart Williams had in fact been occupying the top coaching spot. Sir Richie is also a level three England & Wales Cricket Board certified coach.
“I’ve always said I would never say no when I am asked to do a job for West Indies cricket. I love West Indies cricket that much, so whatever I am asked to do I will say yes. It’s very difficult to say ‘no I am not going to do it’ so if the board approaches me and ask me to coach the team; obviously, I’d seriously think about it . . .,” he told the media in his homeland.
Sir Richie said that last month the WICB had asked him to “take control” of the team, but not coach. In a release from the WICB last month chief executive officer Michael Muirhead had indicated that Sir Richie would “take charge” of the team on an “interim basis” for the series against the touring Asians.
But since he was already in charge as manager on a full-time basis, and has denied that he was coach, there is some confusion as to what he was asked to take charge of on an “interim basis”. Several news reports had named Sir Richie as interim coach of the regional team for the just ended home series against Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Sir Richie has indicated that the West Indies coaching team had coped well without Gibson.
“We all know exactly what we have to do and everything just continued to run smoothly. The only difference is that it’s a bit more work for myself and also for the coaches because we are one personnel short, but we rallied and we’ve always been a very good team. We’ve always worked well together and we continued in that vein,” Sir Richie said.
President of the West Indies Cricket Board, Dave Cameron, recently indicated that the board was hoping to fill the vacant position by year-end, and added that the board had not adopted any policy position as to whether or not the new coach should be West Indian.
“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,” he said at the time.
Cameron also dismissed suggestions that South African Mickey Arthur, said to the preferred choice of the board’s director of cricket Richard Pybus, had been earmarked for the job.
Muirhead, though, admitted last month that very informal discussions had already been held with Arthur but that the official interviewing process had not started.
He said then the WICB would not allow itself to be pressured into a deadline, because of pending tournaments. Muirhead noted the 2015 World Cup would be considered a nice cut-off time by which to have a coach, but added the board didn’t plan to rush to get a new coach just to have a coach in place for the World Cup.
“We are getting a feel for the market out there before we make a decision. If we do find who we feel is the right person, and we find him before the start of the World Cup, then so be it. But we certainly don’t plan to short-change ourselves in finding a new coach,” he said.