Cricket West Indies (CWI) made an error when they dismissed Richard Pybus from the position of interim head coach of the West Indies senior men’s team and replaced him with Floyd Reifer, says former Barbados and West Indies fast-bowler Tino Best. In fact, Best believes that Reifer is not the best man for the position.
Best told Barbados TODAY that CWI’s disruptive faux pas of firing the team responsible for a successful Test and One-Day International series against England immediately before the World Cup, could now be affecting the West Indies’ performances in England.
The West Indies have won one of the five matches they have played at the World Cup. After blowing away Pakistan by seven wickets in the first match, the regional team narrowly lost to Australia by 15 runs, then suffered an eight- wicket defeat to England and lost by seven- wickets to Bangladesh. Their match against South Africa was a washout.
As result of their woeful performances, the West Indies are in seventh position on the points table with four more matches to play. Statistically, Jason Holder’s men still have a chance to qualify for the semifinals if they win all of their remaining matches. However, the West Indies face a daunting task to make it into the semifinals. They are yet to play India and New Zealand, the two unbeaten teams in the tournament.
“I think Floyd (Reifer) is out of his depth. I was happy that he got the opportunity to coach the West Indies at what is the showpiece event of international cricket. But on reflection, coaching an international team should come with experience. I think Corey (Collymore), Roddy (Estwick) and Floyd should have served longer apprenticeship as coaches of the A team for a couple more years before they were elevated to coaching the senior team. Taking over the team at the World Cup might have been too much for them to handle at this stage of their development. I could be wrong, but this is my opinion. I have a lot of respect for these guys, Floyd captained me in two Tests against Bangladesh in 2009, I played a lot of cricket with Corey and I have benefited from Roddy’s skills as a coach. But I got to call it as I see it. A big problem was created for the team with the changing of the guard and this has caused us to regress. Our cricket has taken a step backwards. Cricket West Indies missed the ball when they fired the selectors and Pybus after the team was so successful against England,” Best asserted.
The fast-bowler turned cricket analyst added: “We were going over the hump. I did not mind the president being changed, even though I backed Dave Cameron to retain the post. I have a lot of time for Ricky Skerritt, he was manager of the West Indies team when I made my Test debut. I know he is passionate about West Indies cricket and loves it as much as I do. But I was very disappointed with the manner the coaches and selectors were fired. I thought Pybus and his coaching unit prepared the team well for the series against England. Look at the results, we defeated England 2-1 in the Test series and looked like a world-class side due to the superb planning of Pybus and his staff. The selectors under Courtney Browne selected the right team, the West Indies played fantastic Test cricket.
“We went into the ODI series which everyone said was a precursor to the World Cup and drew the series 2-2 against the number one ranked team in the world. Everyone knew his role in that series against England. The players were sharp, they were focused and hungry for success, Jason Holder was an inspirational leader. Everything has gone downwards after Pybus and his team were fired and replaced by Reifer and his people. The West Indies are a mere shadow of the team that played against England. In the last two matches against England and Bangladesh [in the World Cup] we looked like cricket dunces,” the former fiery fast-bowler said.
Best who took 330 first-class wickets in 121 matches at 29.37, as well as 97 international wickets across all three formats in 57 appearances, described the West Indies performance at the World Cup as heartbreaking and disappointing and gave them a 2.5 grade out of 10. He said they seemed to lack in-depth planning for the World Cup.
“I said after the squad was selected that it was okay, but it was not balanced. I felt then the lack of balance would have placed a lot of pressure on the batsmen and the bowlers to perform. This is exactly what has happened. Our batsmen are not scoring runs and our bowlers have struggled to contain the batsmen in our last two matches. The planning seemed to have gone awry, this was illustrated in the match against England.
“This game was played at the Hampshire Bowl which is probably one of the slowest surfaces in England. I spent five months playing county cricket for Hampshire and the pitch there is very slow. A bowler can’t bounce out batsmen on that wicket and our bowlers continued bowling short at the batsmen. I got the impression the team’s management did not analyze the pitch and the conditions. I was very disappointed with the way our bowlers bowled,” Best stated.
Best said West Indies’ poor bowling did not reflect well on the bowling coaches.
“Since the rained-out game against South Africa the West Indies bowlers have looked ordinary. This is a reflection of the bowling coaches. Corey had a reputation as bowler who bowled an impeccable line and length, Roddy knows his craft, and yet our bowlers are finding it hard to keep line and length and take wickets,” Best lamented.