ONLINE READERS COMMENT: There may be hope for West Indies cricket

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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Dear Editor,

There may be hope for the revival of West Indies cricket yet.

Current coach Stuart Law has resigned. Most coaches in professional sports worldwide, such as football, baseball and basketball, would consider themselves lucky not to have been shown the door a long time ago, given his record of failure.

He led the team to just six wins in 15 Tests, and then only against lowly Zimbabwe and Bangladesh; won only two out of six Test series, only six wins in 26 ODIs, only eight wins in 19 T20s. Players continued to make the same basic mistakes game after game. The former world Test, ODI and T20 world champions were forced to enter a qualifying round with the minnows for the 2019 World Cup and only made it via Duckworth-Lewis and a very dubious lbw decision against Scotland.

It is therefore deeply disturbing to West Indian fans, who have been voting with their feet and wallets, that the current CEO Johnny Grave should call this "real progress" and that he should be joined by Cricket Director Jimmy Adams and CWI president Dave Cameron in praising Law's tenure.

As CWI president, Cameron has been harshly criticized for the disastrous decline of West indies cricket. It has been pointed out, in his defence, that he does not coach, select or captain the team. But he does have a say in selecting the next coach. He had better get it right. The 25-year record of the governing regional body with respect to selecting coaches is poor. The better ones — Rohan Kanhai, Roger Harper, Gus Logie, Phil Simmons — have been let go prematurely, sometimes shortly after successful tournaments. The failures — Bennett King, John Dyson, Ottis Gibson and Law — have been given lots of rope.

Sandals, the world's leading luxury hotel chain, is now once again associated with West Indies cricket. It has a well-deserved reputation for the very highest international standards of excellence. It cannot allow its brand to be tarnished by yet another wrong choice of a coach.

The next coach must demonstrate high technical competence, especially in batting and running between the wickets; tactical smarts; a knowledge and understanding of the lessons of West Indies cricket history; be a strong motivator and disciplinarian; promote a modern concept of team structure including bowlers who can bat. While fitness is a prerequisite of all sports, a over-hyped physical/trainer-cum-net-practice-supervisor will not do.

Another mistake leading to more failure is not an option.

Errol W A Townshend

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