Yet again president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Dave Cameron has presided over another gaffe.
This time it is the controversial appointment of Englishman Richard Pybus to the position of head coach of the West Indies team.
He was recently selected to lead the regional side in the upcoming home series against England, the Triangular Series in Ireland, the ICC CWC 2019 and the visit of India in July and August.
Since Pybus’ surprising elevation to the post, damning details as to how he was selected have been revealed.
While it was unanimously decided to appoint Nick Pothas as West Indies’ interim coach following the resignation of Stuart Law in September last year, Pybus’ appointment was seemingly done without the knowledge of several key, high-level CWI officials.
In a recent interview, CWI director Enoch Lewis accused Cameron of hiring Pybus without the knowledge of the CWI cricket committee.
Prior to that interview, Lewis also wrote a scathing letter to CWI calling for Pybus’ appointment to be rescinded.
Lewis claimed neither CWI’s director of cricket Jimmy Adams nor himself had been included in the recruitment of Pybus.
He said after Cameron had informed them that negotiations with Pothas, who was the board-approved candidate, had broken down, the president handpicked Pybus, negotiated a salary and appointed him to the post without the knowledge of some members of the committee.
Lewis maintained that a decision had been made to hire somebody from the existing coaching staff.
And while president of the Barbados Cricket Association and CWI director Conde Riley came to Cameron’s defence by saying everything had been done above board, the fact remains that the announcement that Pybus would be the Windies’ new head coach came as a shock to most persons.
In fact, during his roles as Director of Cricket from 2013 to 2016 and High-Performance Director in 2018, Pybus encountered some rocky times.
During his three-year stint as Director of Cricket, he was partly responsible for a change in selection criteria, which made involvement in the West Indies’ domestic tournaments compulsory for any player seeking a place in the national side.
It was a stance which contributed to some of the country’s top talent opting to travel the world playing T20 cricket instead and led to a breakdown in relationships with those players.
When news of his appointment became public, former skipper Daren Sammy tweeted on social media,”Please tell me that’s fake news… somebody please. After the mess in 2014 he can’t be back… I refuse to believe that’s true.”
It is still unclear why Pybus was selected, especially when other capable candidates had expressed their interest in the job.
His appointment also raises the issue of why persons from the Caribbean continue to be overlooked.
Records show that Australians John Dyson, Stuart Law and Bennett King, all former West Indies head coaches, were no more successful than West Indians Phil Simmons and Otis Gibson. Indeed Gibson has been an outstanding coach with England previously and is currently enjoying a successful tenure with South Africa.
Former opening batsman Desmond Haynes had also made public his interest in the head coaching job as well as former Windies’ captain Floyd Reifer.
Haynes especially had received much support, with the legendary Clive Lloyd describing him as the right man for the job.
Lloyd too agrees that foreign coaches continue to be selected without much to show for it.
“What I would like to see in the future of our cricket that people like Gordon Greenidge, who has coached all over the place, and Desmond Haynes [given a chance]. These guys know about cricket and our cricketers and they are not getting a chance to show what talents they have, and I think it is about time we start to do something of that nature,” Lloyd suggested.