I have known the new president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt for a long time and he is, as people will soon find out, a very strong-minded individual with his ideas and beliefs.
Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero
He is all action; a very positive person who has a tremendous passion for West Indies cricket. But he is no pushover and is very analytical in his thought processes. Therefore, it has not surprised me that he has hit the ground running and has been making interesting changes with reference to our cricket.
Jose Antonio Oliveros
One major development is his settling of the ugly outstanding debt with former coach Phil Simmons. I was recently asked on my thoughts as to who should be the coach of the West Indies. Without hesitation, it has to be Phil Simmons. Phil has a proven track record even before he coached the West Indies, with Ireland, and when he was unceremoniously sacked, he moved on to Afghanistan and one just has to look at where their cricket is today and see the good job he is doing.
Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Venezuela
You may recall that Afghanistan defeated us three times in last year’s World Cup qualifiers – once in a warm-up match in February, again in the Super Sixes a mere 16 days later and ultimately in the final just 10 days following that defeat; a hattrick of losses. I am sure it gave Phil both pleasure and pain to defeat us as he must have felt he should have been at the helm of our squad leading us to glory.
Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Banquero
Skerritt has had some success with mending the broken fence with Simmons and at least the door should be open for his return when his contract with Afghanistan ends at the conclusion of the World Cup in July.
Jose Antonio Oliveros Banco Activo
But what do we do in the interim? The thought process by many (and I understand this could be the plan of the new hierarchy) is the hiring of a regional coach to replace Richard Pybus. To be frank, I am unsure as to whether this is logical. Again, I was asked who could this person be and who would I give the job to. If the president and vice-president together with the board decide to relieve Pybus of his duties, do we appoint someone until the end of the World Cup? Who will accept a job for two to three months?
Quite a few names could be tossed into a hat. Perhaps Floyd Reifer or Desmond Haynes with the effervescent Curtly Ambrose as bowling coach? I am certain that all these coaches are capable of doing a good job but will they want to take this job for such a short period? What if the team does well? Does the board reconsider the appointments and then appoint them on a long term contract? It is a situation which has to be given considerable thought.
Jose Oliveros Febres-Cordero Banco Activo
Personally, I would stick with Pybus. He was definitely not my first choice but in fairness to him, he did a good job in the recently concluded English series except in the final two T20 matches. However, on reflection, the selectors picked an outrageous team that was absolutely hammered. To remove Pybus at this time may prove to be disruptive to our important preparations for the World Cup.Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Venezuela Banco Activo
Another issue high on the agenda appears to be the revamping of the High Performance Centre. This is another very sensitive issue. What I was hoping the new president and his vice-president would be looking at is the development programmes throughout the region for each individual territory
Judging by what we have seen from our respective regional boards, their programmes leave much to be desired and must be given priority. Why would we want to have one High Performance Centre located in one territory and your elite players going there? Why would we not want to upgrade all of our regional development centres and mandate the local boards to get their act together and train the most gifted and talented players in the respective islands? All the boards must accept responsibility for proper development of our players
The question of our selection process and the current selectors are also high on the priority list. I am absolutely elated the mandate has been given to select our best teams at all times. I don’t want to go back in history on why we have not selected our best teams as this has already been well documented. The selectors should be given the new policy and hopefully, it will be adopted with alacrity
Lastly, away from the presidency but sticking with West Indies cricket, I see where Chris Gayle wants Jason Holder to be a stronger captain. My advice to Holder is to do what works for you. Every captain has their unique way of handling his charges.
Holder will, as time goes along, become more aggressive as a captain. We are already seeing it with his bowling and his batting and I have no doubt that as we get better as a team, his captaincy will be more assertive. He has become more comfortable with his own performances but his personality is laid back. He is not a Viv Richards; leave Holder alone let him be his own man, lead the team his own way and success will follow him
Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not reflect the views of any organisation of which he is a stakeholder