ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Barbados and West Indies batting legend Desmond Haynes will face off against former head coach Phil Simmons and current interim coach Floyd Reifer in the race to be the next full-time head coach of the West Indies men’s team.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced today that Haynes, Reifer and Simmons had emerged from a list of six candidates that took part in the initial interview process which concluded on Monday – and there would now be a final round of interviews to be completed by October 11.
“Critical areas discussed were applications of cricket-specific experience, technical knowledge, performance planning process, performance measurement, performance-driven culture and also CWI’s core values of passion, accountability, respect, integrity and team excellence,” said a CWI media release.
A CWI panel comprising vice-president Dr. Kishore Shallow, who is chairman of the CWI’s human resource committee; CWI director of cricket, Jimmy Adams; CWI human resources manager, Oneka Martin-Bird; CWI independent director, Debra Coryat-Patton; and England-based coaching educator, Gordon Lord conducted the interviews with the three former West Indies batsmen and other candidates.
Haynes, a former West Indies captain and one half of the most durable opening partnership in the history of the international game with Gordon Greenidge, had previously expressed interest in the position.
He brings the wealth of a decorated playing career in which he scored 7,487 runs in 116 Tests and 8,648 runs in 238 One-day Internationals between 1978 and 1994.
Haynes had also held the post of batting consultant briefly when Ottis Gibson was head coach and has had coaching stints with several Twenty20 franchise sides in recent times.
Simmons, also a former West Indies opener, was head coach for close to two years before being sacked in September 2016 following differences with the leadership of CWI – but was scooped up by Afghanistan and guided the side to the 2019 World Cup in England.
Reifer, a former Barbados and West Indies captain, and long-standing head coach of the successful Combined Campuses & Colleges, is currently interim head coach.
He had guided the side during the limited-overs stages of last year’s tour of Bangladesh before Richard Pybus was controversially appointed to the position for the home series against England and delivered a 2-1 victory in three-Test series, 2-2 draw in a five-match, One-day International rubber (one game was rained out) and a 2-1 loss in a three-match Twenty20 International series.
Following the England series, a change in the hierarchy of CWI swept Ricky Skerritt and Shallow into power in the posts of president and vice-president respectively, and Pybus was sent packing just weeks before the World Cup in England following a review of the team’s coaching and selection policies.
Reifer was again installed in the position on an interim basis, but the side has had tepid success under his guidance, winning just two matches against hosts Ireland in a triangular ODI series, where they lost three times, including the final to Bangladesh, before misfiring in the World Cup and losing all but one rained-out match in a home series against India.
Both Reifer and Simmons had underwhelming careers in West Indies international colours.
“I am pleased to see such high quality West Indian talent and experience in the shortlisted candidates for the head coach position,” said CWI president Ricky Skerritt.
“I believe that any one of the three finalists would be an excellent choice as head coach, and I wish them every success at the final stage of interviews.”
He added: “On behalf of the board and all stakeholders, I want to thank all of the applicants for coming forward to offer their services for this important leadership role.
“Vice president Shallow and his research and interview team have been most impressive with their efforts to date, and I want to say thank you to them as well.”
The post of head coach was made vacant, when Australian Stuart Law walked away from the position following the side’s previous tour of India at the end of last year, and there have been three interim appointments since.
South African Nic Pothas held the position for part of the subsequent tour of Bangladesh before the involvement of Reifer and Pybus.