PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – In the wake of a series of dismal performances by the West Indies team since he took over as president of Cricket West Indies, Ricky Skerritt has downplayed sacked coach Richard Pybus’ role in West Indies’ shock Test series win over England in the Caribbean earlier this year.
In fact, Skerritt said there was “absolutely no evidence” that the controversial Englishman was behind the 2-1 series result, which saw the home side recapture the prestigious Wisden Trophy for the first time in a decade.
“The team beat England in two Test matches. There is no reason to believe that it was because of Pybus,” Skerritt told i95FM in a wide-ranging interview aired last night in Trinidad.
“There’s absolutely no evidence to believe that Pybus caused that, nobody has been able to show that.”
Pybus was appointed head coach just days before the start of the series last January, a move that was embroiled in controversy, especially after it emerged he had been handpicked by then president Dave Cameron.
The home side then crushed England in the first Test at Kensington Oval by 381 runs, behind captain Jason Holder’s magnificent unbeaten maiden double hundred and Roston Chase’s eight-wicket haul in the second innings.
West Indies then pulled off a 10-wicket in the second Test in Antigua to win the series, before going on to suffer a comprehensive 232-run defeat in the third Test in St Lucia.
Skerritt, who ousted three-term incumbent at CWI elections last March, said the series result had simply represented a “peak” for West Indies, but pointed out that overall, results had continued in a negative direction.
“We have had our peaks and troughs over the years but if you look at the success curve, it’s been trending downwards,” the former St Kitts and Nevis cabinet minister explained.
“So even when you get a little peak and then a trough, you’re getting more troughs than peaks so you’re continuing to go downwards. The England Test series was a peak; what we have to do is get more peaks than troughs so that the curve turns and starts to go upwards.”
Pybus was removed as head coach following Skerritt’s arrival and replaced by ex-West Indies batsman Floyd Reifer, in an interim role.
CWI announced this week it was launching its recruitment process for a permanent head coach and Skerritt said the qualities being now sought had not been reflected in Pybus.
“We need a coach who’s going to be able to teach young people and follow them through on the fundamentals and help them be the best they can be,” Skerritt asserted.
“Pybus was hired as a high performance director; he had no achievements as a high performance director. Pybus only wanted one job and that was to be coach. We want a coach who wants to be a teacher of the best young people in the Caribbean.”
The region’s former director of cricket, Pybus and CWI parted ways after he was reassigned to his substantive role as high performance director.
Despite Skerritt’s criticisms of Pybus, the Englishman has come in for praise previously from West Indies captain Jason Holder during his tenure as coach. In January Holder highlighted Pybus’ contribution stating “It is really refreshing working with him.” Holder subsequently questioned the rationale behind CWI firing Pybus and the coaching staff just weeks before the ICC World Cup in England.
Ironically, Pybus was director of cricket in the Caribbean when the senior West Indies team won the World Cup in 2016, as well as the Women’s World T20 title and the ICC Under-19 World Cup.