Clive Lloyd's appointment right move

Friday, August 22, 2014

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FOR many cricket followers, news that Mr Ottis Gibson and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) had "mutually agreed" to end his contract as coach of the regional team was long overdue.

To be fair, Mr Gibson — as was pointed out by the WICB — was the man in charge when the West Indies won the ICC World Twenty20 in 2012. That success came alongside a good run in Test cricket against minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe as well as New Zealand.

The WICB also praised Mr Gibson for his "unwavering commitment and professionalism" during his four years as coach.

Unfortunately, Mr Gibson won few friends in terms of his man management. He will be remembered for his sour relationship with leading players during the first half of his tenure as coach.

And, while he was by no means solely at fault, Mr Gibson will always be associated with the prolonged exclusion from the West Indies team of former captain Mr Christopher Gayle during a period when the latter was arguably at his peak as a batsman.

In the end, though, we suspect it was the alarming dip in results in all formats, but especially in Test cricket over the last year or so that rendered Mr Gibson's tenure impossible to sustain.

The 1-2 Test defeat to New Zealand in the recent series in the Caribbean was especially annoying for fans and cricket watchers. Many felt, with justification, we believe, that the regional team's failure was largely the result of flawed selections and incoherent planning/implementation by those in charge.

In that respect, this newspaper welcomes the recent appointment of the great West Indies captain of the 1970s and '80s, Mr Clive Lloyd, as chairman of a new selection panel. Among the great batsmen of his time, Mr Lloyd is justifiably acclaimed as the architect of the legendary West Indies team which dominated world cricket from the '70s through the '80s to the mid-90s. Much of that had to do with Mr Lloyd's capacity to spot and nurture talented cricketers; as well as his self-belief and courage which allowed him to insist on the selection of the gifted ones even when their statistical record may have been underwhelming.

In that regard, Jamaican cricket fans of that era won't ever forget the drafting of young fast bowler Mr Michael Holding to Mr Lloyd's West Indies team in the mid-1970s. It was, to put it mildly, among the more inspired selections in Caribbean cricket history.

We expect that whoever takes over as coach replacing Mr Gibson will benefit immensely from Mr Lloyd's experience, wisdom and fearless inclination.

We wish them well!




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