Former West Indies allrounder Vasbert Drakes is not buying Stuart Law’s explanation that he resigned from the post of head coach of the West Indies’ team to take up a coaching position with English county Middlesex because he wants to be close to his family.
Last month, Cricket West Indies (CWI) issued a press release announcing that Law was resigning from the position of head coach at the end of the West Indies tour to India and Bangladesh to take up a position with Middlesex. Law said at the time the new job would keep him close to his family.
But Drakes, a former head coach of the West Indies Women’s team and the now defunct High-Performance Centre, said it was unfortunate that Law was quitting the post in the same year of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup. He also suggested that when Law took up the West Indies coaching job he had the same family that he is now quitting to be close to.
“I think it is really very unfortunate that with one of the major events in cricket taking place next year that Stuart Law has resigned from the post of head coach. When I analyze his decision from a coaching perspective, I would have backed myself in a major competition with a group of players that I have been preparing for the last two years. My work with them as their coach would have given me the confidence to back myself if I was in Law’s position to take that team to the World Cup and compete as a coach,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Drakes added: “All of us have family. When he first accepted the job, he would have taken his family into consideration, so I cannot really buy into his explanation that he is going to Middlesex because he wants to be close to his family. I was rather disappointed with his explanation. In my view it a rather weak reason for quitting the position of head coach. It is always an aspiration to coach at the highest level. It is strange for a coach to step down from coaching a team at the international level and accept a job in county cricket.”
But Drakes suggested there was an upside to Law’s departure, noting that every ICC title the West Indies has won was achieved with a West Indian coach at the helm. He indicated that the time was ripe for someone from the region to be appointed to the post of head coach of the team once again.
“If you look at the history of the West Indies winning ICC World Championships, each time we won a title it was under a West Indian-born coach. Unfortunately, we take a long period of time before decisions are made to appoint a West Indian to head coach and to pay them the salary that is earned by coaches at the international level. I often wonder if it is going to take a miracle for the authorities to acknowledge that we have good and talented coaches who are capable and talented enough to be head coach of the West Indies team. One of them should be given an extended period to ply their trade as head coach. There are several West Indian coaches that have played international cricket and understand how to function in the environment. They understand the players, high-performance preparation and the dynamics of winning, I can talk about skills of our coaches but at the end of the day if you don’t get the people who make the decisions to buy into what I am saying, we will go nowhere,” Drakes said.
But the outspoken coach added that he would have no qualms if a foreign coach with a proven track record was appointed to the post.
“It does not matter if a coach from outside of the region is appointed to the post, however. I can say without any fear of contradiction. The last couple of foreign coaches we had did not have outstanding track records. No one could have said they were the men for the job based on their track record. We want the best coaches that are available, but I honestly believed that if a search is conducted within the region, it would conclude that we have more than enough coaches to take our cricket forward,” Drakes said.
He acknowledged that two West Indians, Phil Simmons and Otis Gibson, held the post of head coach within the past seven years and alluded to some of the problems encountered when they held the post.
“I know we had Phil Simmons involved and there were some concerns about how he went about doing the job. Before him, the coach was Otis Gibson who I think did a fantastic job. But based on what I heard, some of the players believed that he could not move their game forward. But when you looked at his track record it was not bad. There were Gus Logie and Roger Harper who won ICC titles. I think coaches will always have their own personality, they are going to be strong coaches who will stand up to the board, this is not an indication that they do not care about West Indies cricket. Even though we are professional coaches, I strongly believe that as West Indians, we are also shareholders and custodian of the game. I always believed that if a person has an opinion, they have the right to express it in a civil manner without being victimized,” Drakes said.