ST JOHN’S, Antigua – In an attempt to energise the flagging fortunes of its marquee men’s team, Cricket West Indies announced on Wednesday that it will adopt the modern international trend of appointing separate coaches for the side’s red-ball and white-ball teams.
CWI’s director of cricket Jimmy Adams said recruitment for the two coaching posts will start immediately, with the red-ball coach also being assigned coaching responsibilities for the West Indies A team, whenever the vacancy is filled.
Adams added the decision was spurred by CWI’s recent indepent review of the first round exit of the men’s team, under Nicholas Pooran, from the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup last October in Australia, which was conducted by a panel inccluding former captain Brian Lara and renowned international coach Mickey Arthur.
“After recently completing an independent review of our 2022 ICC (Men’s T20) World Cup performance, which included a closer look at the roles of the current head coach position, we believe it is now necessary to split the role and engage separate coaches for red and white ball formats,” Adams said in a news release.
“The increased frequency of back-to-back multi-format tours combined with the specific demands of the respective formats no longer provides enough time for one individual to adequately plan, prepare and review across bilateral series and franchise itineraries that are so condensed.”
The post of head coach became vacant when Phil Simmons announced his decision to resign last October after West Indies crashed out of the T20 World Cup in Australia in the first round, an outcome he described as “unfathomable”.
The Caribbean side were eliminated after they finished at the bottom of their qualifying group, and they were only able to beat Zimbabwe in their second match, but lost to Scotland and Ireland either side.
Simmons stayed on, however, to guide West Indies through a two-Test tour of Australia a few weeks later, but they were swept, bringing an end to a three-year period of moderate success of the side under the former international opener.
Former Jamaica wicketkeeper-batsman Andre Coley was appointed interim head coach for a two-Test series this past February in Zimbabwe, and the current all-formats Tour of South Africa, where the visitors were also swept in two Tests and face the hosts in three One-day and three Twenty20 Internationals over the next few weeks.
Adams said the strategic split of coaching role will bring specific focus on management of players and development of format specific schedules.
“Separating the roles will also provide the head coaches with more time to oversee players’ ongoing development away from tours directly, and through increased engagement and planning with suitable high-performance programmes and coaches,” Adams said.
The decision to split the coaching roles came almost four months after CWI’s vice president-designate, Azim Bassarath said it was “impractical”.
Bassarath, the powerful T&T Cricket Board president, said in a television interview last October in his homeland that he was not in favour of the splitting the role of head coach because there were “concerns about the finances of CWI” and its ability to support the hiring of two head coaches and two sets of support staff.