A foreign coach or West Indian one, it does not matter either way for former West Indies cricketer Deryck Murray who wants the West Indies Cricket Board to weigh their options properly and make a smart choice in getting the best available coach for the long-term benefit of West Indies cricket.
Murray said since the WICB failed to make use of the “convenient gap” between the New Zealand series and the Bangladesh series to make the coaching change, they should not rush into making a hurried decision now after the WICB and head coach Ottis Gibson mutually agreed to terminate their association with immediate effect on August 19, a day before the first ODI against Bangladesh.
“It is a little unfortunate. The timing, the releases, you are not exactly sure what was going on. There was a convenient gap between the New Zealand tour and the Bangladesh tour and I think it would have helped West Indies cricket if that period could have been used to have a new coach in place before of the Bangladesh series,” Murray explained.
In terms of Gibson’s replacement, the Queen’s Park Cricket Club president said “I am always for the best coach available. I am not particularly bothered whether it is foreign or West Indian. I want to see the best coach available and I know there are both Caribbean and foreign coaches available, so I hope we don’t rush into a decision without weighing the options and coming up with the best choice.
“It is not something that should be rushed. I just think in the recent past we have not made the best decisions and I think it is time that we do make a decision where we have someone with creditability and who can quickly earn the trust of the players and the fans and is able to do a good job,” Murray added.
“It is a long term job. Changing the fortunes of West Indies cricket is not a quick fix decision. It is good if we can get someone in place who will look at the long term development of players so that we will have not just a good international team on the field but also a programme that helps up to translate the abundance natural talent in our players to the potential they are capable of achieving at the international level,” Murray explained.
WICB Chief Executive Officer Michael Muirhead announced last week that the board is on a global search for a suitable replacement and will be weighing their options carefully.
“We would talk to everybody. We are going on a worldwide hunt. We would like to put it out there,” said Muirhead in an interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“We always would encourage West Indians but we have to evaluate them and put out our criteria. We would encourage West Indians. I can’t put a time table until we see what the pool of coaches is,” he added.
However former West Indies cricketer Bryan Davis believes a West Indian coach will be the best option for the regional team.
He agreed with Murray that the change should have been made earlier than on the eve of a series but insisted: “I don’t go along with a foreign coach at all.”
“I see they (newspaper reports) mentioned Mickey Arthur (as an option to replace Gibson) but he was the Australia coach last year and he was replaced in the middle of a tour by Darren Lehman. They got rid of him in the middle of a tour, so it had to be something drastically wrong with his coaching, so I can’t see the WICB bringing a failure to do what, to recycle him. No way.”
One viable option according to QPCC technical director Davis, is former West Indies cricketer Phil Simmons.
“He has been a popular and successful coach and I think he has the personality for coaching and I think he will make a very good coach of the West Indies and he should be given the opportunity.
“I like a local man because he knows the culture and grew up in the culture and he is a West Indian through and through. Phil Simmons has all the credentials as far as I am concerned,” Davis added.