REPORTS have emerged suggesting Cricket West Indies (CWI) are initiating plans to remove current head coach, Richard Pybus, ahead of May’s 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
According to ESPN, as per a conversation with new president Ricky Skerritt, the axe will fall on Pybus just three months after overseeing a Test series victory against England. Pybus’ contract was due to last until the end of India’s visit to the Caribbean in July in the wake of the World Cup, but the report indicates Skerritt will host a board meeting next week in order to review the current coaching structure.
“A cricket review process is underway,” Skerritt said. “Announcements will be made following our board meeting on Tuesday.” Pybus signed on controversially as head coach in January, plugging the gap left by Stuart Law who moved to Middlesex. It created a major division in the Caribbean, with questions about the transparency of this hiring emerging, and also if it was the right move to mend player relations as his policies led to fallout with several Twenty20 (T20) superstars in the past.
Pybus was a former High Performance Director in 2018 and a former Director of Cricket between 2013 and 2016. He chose not to renew his contract, but upon returning CWI pointed to the recent World T20 title as proof of his success. In between these Caribbean stints, Pybus coached Bangladesh but left them after five months following a contract dispute with the Bangladesh cricket board. His re-hiring appeared to be justified with the West Indies hosting England and winning the Test series 2-1 and then sharing the ODIs 2-2 to boost confidence ahead of the World Cup. Still, Skerritt believes change is needed.
“That (Pybus being appointed as interim coach) has been a vexatious sort of issue,” Skerritt continued. “I have to tell you that we believe very strongly in localising the expertise that we put behind our teams and we believe only in bringing in non-Caribbean expertise only where it is not available across the region. We want to be sure that the team does well at all times with the possible resources but we also have to make sure that they have a Caribbean support team around them.”
With Skerritt looking at possibly bringing back players such as Darren Sammy from the wilderness and eyeing more Caribbean coaches, Pybus is set to be the first piece of collateral damage meant to assuage the players’ concerns and trust. Also, the position of Mushtaq Ahmed, an assistant coach since October 2018, is also said to be under review as part of the rumoured overhaul. The likes of Sir Andy Roberts and Sir Viv Richards have already supported Skerritt’s Caribbean-first vision, which appears is ready for implementation sooner than anticipated.