BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Richard Pybus has dismissed the furore over his appointment as interim West Indies men’s head coach as “Caribbean internal politics” and says he is focussed on ensuring the team is properly prepared for their tough assignment against England starting this week.
The Englishman was controversially appointed to the interim role earlier this month, a move that reportedly sparked discontent among Cricket West Indies directors since he was not among the shortlist put forward by director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, and approved by the board.
In fact, director Enoch Lewis claimed the former director of cricket had been “hand-picked” by CWI president, Dave Cameron without “without pre-authorisation and input from the board”, actions which the Leeward Islands Cricket Board president labelled as “unfortunate, unacceptable and unethical”.
And though Pybus’s appointment was also criticised by distinguished members of the Caribbean cricket fraternity, the former director of cricket says the controversy was a feature of the region.
“It’s the Caribbean, you’ve got 16 countries. It’s not like England, Australia or South Africa,” Pybus said on Sunday in his first public comments since his appointment.
“With the internal politics, there’s always discussion. Unless you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the region it’s difficult to understand quite how challenging it is.”
The CWI had approved the choice of Nic Pothas to succeed departing Australian Stuart Law, but after negotiations with the South African reached a stalemate, Lewis claimed Cameron then “made contact with Pybus, negotiated and concluded a deal worth more than what Pothas had been offered.”
CWI subsequently ignored Lewis’s call for the appointment to be rescinded, publicly backed Pybus and subsequently referred Lewis’s comments to its ethics committee “for review”.
Pybus, who never applied for the vacant head coach post, said criticism was part of sport and should be expected.
“It’s part of the landscape. I have just got to get on with the job, really,”Pybus continued.
“Criticism is part of the tapestry and the drama around sport. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into England. I don’t want to sound too ‘Zen’ but I’m really focused on the first day and making sure we’re ready.”
One former player, two-time Twenty20 World Cup-winning skipper, Darren Sammy, has been vocal in his criticism of Pybus’s involvement in West Indies cricket, questioning the official’s appointment as high performance director last year.
Pybus had previously spent an extended tenure as CWI’s director of cricket, during which time he oversaw the implementation of the Professional Cricket League.
However, he also courted controversy with his crafting of the policy requiring players to play domestic competitions in order to be eligible for international selection.
Choosing to sidestep Sammy’s criticism, Pybus said there was little value in delving into what had gone on before.
“I don’t want to unpack the past. Darren is entitled to his opinion,” he said.
“I don’t want to give boring one-liners but I did three years as director of cricket and what’s in the results bank is in the results bank. It’s the players on the park who deliver. But I was satisfied at the time with how the programmes supported players.”
West Indies face England in the first of three Tests at Kensington Oval here tomorrow.