Retired but outspoken cricket commentator Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira was this week critical of the performance of the Ricky Skerritt-led CWI in their first year of leadership of regional cricket.
In March 2019, Skerritt and running mate Dr Kishore Shallow defeated the then incumbent Dave Cameron and Emmanuel Nathan 8-4 in a landslide victory at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston, Jamaica, and then quickly set about making some of the changes they had promised in their 10-point plan for the revitalisation of West Indies cricket.
Those changes included removing head coach Richard Pybus and Vasbert Drakes just three months after they guided the West Indies to a shock 2-1 Test series victory against then World no.1 England in February 2019.
The West Indies also played England to a 2-2 stalemate in the subsequent ODI series.
However, speaking on Andrew Mason and Guest in Barbados this week, the 80-year-old Perreira did not mince his words when he related his grouses about the year-old administration.
While he credited the slate for their messaging leading up to the elections, the outspoken commentator suggested that few things have gone right since then.
“They were campaigning on change and they stuck to change but, to me, just too early. I felt that after success against England where we really had shocked the world, we should have stayed with the coaching team and the selectors and make those changes after the World Cup,” he said.
At the 2019 ICC World Cup held in England, West Indies, champions in 1975 and 1979, won only two of their nine games and finished ninth in the 10-team table.
“It was just too rushed,” Perreira continued, “Ricky Skerritt was under pressure from voices outside the board. We had a great push for Floyd Reifer as coach, whether we had the best team but it was a poor World Cup.”
He said that after the World Cup Prime Minister Keith Mitchell of Grenada, a vocal critic of the previous president, Dave Cameron, admitted that the changes to the coaching staff came too soon.
Turning to the hiring of head coach Phil Simmons, Perreira said he is not sure Simmons should have been offered a four-year contract by CWI.
“In my estimation, it would have been better to ask him to accept a two-year contract and wait and see,” Perreira said.
“You appoint a CEO of a company, you say ‘okay, two years let’s see how you go. So, I feel a two-year contract would have been ideal and based on performance, further extend that.”
Perreira, who has commentated on international cricket for more than half a century also lamented the poor performance of the team on the field.
“I don’t think we have done all that great. We lost to Afghanistan, we didn’t outplay Ireland, Sri Lanka was a mixed bag; we ended well with two good wins in the T20s,” he said.
“Apart from (Shai) Hope, there wasn’t much to shout about.”
Perreira also lamented the poor performances of the West Indies Women, who have plummeted down the world rankings and whose performances were anaemic during the recent Women’s World Cup.
However, in spite of Perreira’s claims, under Skerritt the CWI has enjoyed a more harmonious relationship with current and past players as well as with the players’ union, WIPA, with whom they have recently signed off on a new collective bargaining agreement. (Sportsmax)
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