ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB) president, Enoch Lewis, has called for Richard Pybus’s appointment as interim West Indies men’s coach to be rescinded, after accusing Cricket West Indies president, Dave Cameron, of “hand-picking” the Englishman and ignoring the best practices of “transparency, fairness and due process”.
In a strongly-worded letter to CWI dated December 16 last year, he labeled Cameron’s actions as “unfortunate, unacceptable and unethical” and expressed “profound disappointment, dissatisfaction, and dismay” over the “total disregard” shown for the procedure by which Pybus was selected.
According to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by CMC Sports, director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, recommended to the CWI board of directors last September that the interim head coach be chosen from among a list comprising Nic Pothas, Roddy Estwick, Floyd Reifer, Gus Logie, Desmond Haynes, Toby Radford, Andre Coley, Esuan Crandon, Stuart Williams, Rayon Griffith and Robert Samuels.
Adams ultimately recommended Pothas for the position, indicating that the South African had also been favoured by the outgoing head coach, Australian Stuart Law, as well as the players.
This recommendation was subsequently approved by the CWI board with Pothas scheduled to take up the post from January, 2019 until September.
However, with Law exiting the post earlier than originally planned, Pothas assumed the position for the Bangladesh tour last December, but without agreeing to a compensation package.
Pothas subsequently rejected the first offer made – nearly half of what Law had been paid – and requested compensation closer to Law’s remuneration.
According to the LICB letter, Cameron “made the determination that the matter was at a stalemate. Discussion with Mr. Pothas was then terminated.”
Cameron then made contact with Pybus, negotiated and concluded a deal worth more than what Pothas had been offered.
The negotiations conducted with Mr. Pybus by President Cameron was without pre-authorization and input from the Board,” Lewis contended in the letter.
“None of the DoC (Director of Cricket), the Cricket Committee or the Technical Cricket Committee were consulted on the initiative to engage or negotiate with Mr. Pybus.
“We the undersigned (director Denrick Liburd) reminded the meeting that CWI has consistently claimed to be a highly transparent organization in response to doubts and negative allegations raised recently by some Prime Ministers and other stakeholders in the region.
“We also reminded the meeting of the process previously recommended by the DoC, (who is regarded as our foremost technical cricket mind) and adopted by the Board, which is to appoint someone from the existing coaching staff in the interest of ensuring continuity and stability.”
The letter continued: “We further suggested that if it is now the intention to appoint someone from outside the existing coaching staff or not included in the original list provided by the DoC, that a new process which opens the position to all interested parties must be established in the interest of transparency.
“We submit that it is unfortunate, unacceptable and unethical for the CWI President to single-handedly recruit a person of his choosing, and to proceed with salary negotiations without the prior knowledge of the Board.”
Pybus spent six years as CWI’s director of cricket before leaving the post in 2016, to be replaced by Jamaican Adams the following year.
However, after missing out on several international coaching positions to West Indians, he returned to the West Indies setup last February as high performance director – a move that was criticised by several ex-players largely because the post had not been advertised by CWI.
Lewis said Cameron’s recruitment of Pybus was “unusual” because “the person in question (Pybus) has not formally expressed an interest in the post; he has limited international head coaching experience; he has not coached an international cricket team for at least the past five years; he is not amongst the list of coaches identified by the DoC and previously approved by the Board for consideration.”
While the choice of Pybus was eventually approved by the board, Lewis said “the handling of this matter provoked heated debate and proved a very divisive issue amongst the Directors.”
The latest controversy comes just weeks before the start of the England tour of the Caribbean, with the first Test set to bowl off at Kensington Oval on January 23.