CWI boss says sacking of Pybus is best for Windies

Monday, April 22, 2019

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Amidst concerns about sweeping changes made in the opening few weeks of his tenure, Cricket West Indies (CWI) President Ricky Skerritt has doubled down on the most controversial one — the removal of Richard Pybus as interim head coach almost two weeks ago.

Englishman Pybus got the coaching job on an interim basis in January under contentious circumstances following the abrupt departure late last year of Australian Stuart Law. Pybus has been replaced — also on an interim basis — by former West Indies Captain Floyd Reifer, a Barbadian.

“We made cricket decisions contrary to the propaganda that you've been hearing; there was no politics there. This [coaching change] was about what is best for West Indies cricket,” said Skerritt, in Jamaica last week to stage talks with various stakeholders and shareholders.

“I didn't think it was too early. We have made cricket decisions in the interest of the best possible performance over the next few months and beyond,” he told members of the media moments before last Wednesday's breakfast meeting with CWI members at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel.

“Obviously we will never know [what could have been] because we won't be able to compare one versus the next,” added Skerritt, a former West Indies team manager and St Kitts and Nevis Cabinet minister.

The announcement at the start of the year naming Pybus as coach came with much uproar.

The claim from within the board directorship of CWI that Pybus — whose substantial role was in the high-performance system — had been appointed interim senior men's coach by former President Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron, without due process.

Against all odds the Pybus-coached West Indies, who were heavy underdogs, proceeded to beat touring England 2-1 in the Test series.

West Indies went further by tying top-ranked England 2-2 in the One Day Internationals, breeding hope ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup set to start next month in England and Wales.

At the time, the concern expressed by many was that in the interest of continuity and stability, the decision to replace Pybus would have been better delayed until the end of his interim contract in mid-year.

The Barbados Cricket Association was among those in opposition to the timing of the coaching shake-up.

—Sanjay Myers

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