The more things change the more they remain the same. Unbelievable!
Incredible! Laughable? Maybe.
They have done it again. Yes! The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has again shunned qualified regional coaches and employed yet another Australian as coach of its senior team.
After all the media hype over the likely choice, (there were about fivenames mentioned for this most prestigious job) the WICB has done the unthinkable.
One day before the board met in Barbados to, among other urgentmatters, appoint a coach for the senior team, Phil Simmons, the explosive strapping former Trinidad and West Indies all-rounder was tipped to become the ninth person to bear the burden of leading the West Indies senior team through the wilderness and to eventual safety at the top of the world ranking list. This was not to be.
Out of the blues came the name “John Dyson,” a former Australian test cricketer hardly remembered by most West Indians who follow the game closely.
I am on record denouncing the employment of a coach at the Test level while questioning the success or lack thereof of Bennett King and his predecessors.
But, if we must have one, then let’s go for a West Indian. King came to the Caribbean with much fanfare and high expectations.
His mission was to transform the ‘pistol whipped’ West Indians into a world-conquering unit. It was widely believed that only a foreigner could achieve that feat.
It was also felt that maybe the players who did not listen to Roberts (Andy), Kanhai (Rohan), Marshall (Malcolm) Lloyd (Clive), Harper (Roger) and Logie (Gus) just might become more agreeable and allow themselves to be brought under the strict discipline of someone alien to our culture.
King failed miserably and left in disgrace even as the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) over a year ago had questioned his continued employment.
Four years later the WICB seems not to have learnt its lesson. Simmons, Williams, and the others vying for the job were bypassed once more.
Coaching has become big business and former players are now making more money than they did while they played. How much are we paying this time? Is he coming alone or with his entourage?
Perhaps it is time to return our team to the three man committee of captain, manager and a good physical trainer.
We have been led to believe that a coach is essential to a team’s success and that not to have one is tantamount to treason but this is a flawed concept. A team is strong when its captain is strong. The West Indies were strong when Worrell, Lloyd and Richards led.
Australia rebounded under Border, Taylor and now Ponting. India’s cricket prospered with Ganguly at the helm and South Africa could not have become the force they were without the ruthless Hansie Cronje.
The last World Cup exposed several of those imposters who tendered resignations left, right and centre after very poor and sometimes ordinary performances.
A former coach employed by India did everything to keep one of India’s better batsmen out of the team.
Comments made by the West Indies captain, Sarwan, suggest that King and several of the players did not have a good working relationship. The problem is that too much power is given to these so-called specialists.
West Indies cricket does not need a foreign coach, no. Here is what it needs:
1. A board that will be firm with the players enforcing discipline at all levels.
2. A strong captain
3. An efficient manager
4. Committed players and
5. A hard working physical fitness trainer.
Please not another Australian.
Allan Bazilio is a former cricket commentator who has covered regional cricket extensively. He was also the host of the GTV cricket programme ‘Beyond the Boundary.’ Bazilio_aj@hotmail. com