Consult players first before sacking Pybus, warns legend Holding

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,  CMC – Fast bowling legend Michael Holding has warned the new Cricket West Indies leadership against axing interim head coach Richard Pybus ahead of next month’s ICC World Cup without first consulting the players.

Holding, now a well-respected television broadcaster, said the current players were the ones who stood to be impacted most by such a substantive personnel change and therefore needed to give their input in any such decision.

Pybus, a controversial appointment to the post last January, is widely expected to be replaced prior to the May 30 to July 14 showpiece in England.

“I wouldn’t say right now that we need to change everything. We need to analyse before we have knee-jerk reactions and kick out everybody and change everything,” Holding to i95.5FM radio here.

“We need to sit down and analyse. The people that are coming in – the president (Ricky Skerritt) and the new vice-president (Dr Kishore Shallow) – need to sit down with everybody at various times.”

He continued: “I am hearing them talk about changing the coach for the World Cup. You need to sit down with the current players now and have a discussion with them and say to them ‘what do you think?’, because they are the ones who are going to be affected.

“We sitting down in our living rooms watching, we won’t be affected – the players will be ones to be affected. They (Skerritt and Shallow) need to sit down with them, have a frank discussion, ask them what they think – if they think it is a wise decision or if they are happy to continue with the way things are.”

Pybus, a former director of cricket, replaced Stuart Law as head of the Caribbean side for England’s tour of the Caribbean this year, overseeing their shock 2-1 win in the three-Test series.

The Englishman’s appointment was met with pushback from several CWI directors, with Skerritt during the election campaign noting his discomfort with the manner in which the decision had been made.

And only last week, leading regional academic and UWI vice-chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, argued that a Caribbean coach should lead the Windies at the World Cup.

Holding, who claimed 249 wickets in 60 Tests, said any decisions made on the coaching role should be made with the long term future of West Indies cricket in mind.

“You don’t go into a business and just change everything. You’ve got to go into the business, study how the business operates and deal with the people that are in there and find out how things need to be changed. I’m not saying don’t change anything – what I am saying is do not have a knee jerk reaction,” Holding contended.

“What is the World Cup? One tournament. We’re talking about West Indies cricket and the future of West Indies cricket. Do we only want to win the World Cup? We need to think about the future of West Indies cricket. The World Cup is in a couple months time, what happens after the World Cup?”

Skerritt’s election has been widely viewed as a positive development, especially with outgoing president Dave Cameron having become widely unpopular during his three terms in charge.

But Holding said it was important the new CWI leadership engage in wide consultation ahead of fundamental changes.

“They also need to sit down with administration, the people who actually work and are paid by the West Indies cricket board [and ask] what do you think? How do you think we should move forward? The financial controller, the CEO, the head of coaching – all of those people,” the Jamaican said.

“It is a long process … [they need to] see what needs to be fixed, see what needs to be changed.”