Cricket fans deserve to know more
IT’S CLEARLY a season of change in regional cricket and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is sending a strong message. First was the major shake-up to the selection panel and now the apparent axing of head coach Ottis Gibson. Nothing or no one is sacred.
In a sport which has become keenly competitive and with the potential to earn players and the WICB huge sums of money as well as build brands, cricket is now a global sport industry which is results driven. Winning is everything and has its rewards; failure to be in the top tier can only result in punishment.
We have witnessed the removal of Darren Sammy as both Test and One-Day International (ODI) captain, having been replaced by Denesh Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo, respectively. Sammy has been retained as T20 skipper.
Then there was the calling up of Clive Lloyd as the new chief selector replacing Clyde Butts, while Eldine Baptiste and Courtney Walsh were made selectors with Courtney Browne being switched to focus on youth and women selection issues.
So Mr Gibson’s departure was not totally unexpected as his period at the helm has been anything but stellar. The record shows that the regional side’s performances in recent times in both the ODI and Test formats have been rather dismal. His run-ins with some of the key players are well known while the criticism levelled against him by commentators has been consistent.
What remains disturbing is the manner in which the cricket fans get to know of the changes. The grapevine was abuzz for a few days that Mr Gibson had been fired. Our information was that Richard Pybus, the WICB’s cricket operation director, and Mr Gibson met following the regional side’s recent poor performances. They reportedly could not agree on many things and the board was made aware of the position of both gentlemen.
Given that the West Indies play Bangladesh in Grenada today and there is no Mr Gibson with the regional team, the only logical conclusion is that he has indeed parted ways with the WICB. The corporate communications on the matter yielded only the indeterminate, leaving nothing but fuzziness.
What makes this situation even more interesting is that Mr Gibson’s contract, which was renewed last year, was supposed to have run until late 2016. The public will want to know the details and whether this is the end of the line for Ottis Gibson’s involvement with West Indies cricket.
The WICB needs to appreciate that it operates on behalf of the entire region and cricket fans are critical stakeholders who need to be kept fully informed of critical decisions, such as the appointment of a new captain, selector or coach. Long gone are those days when the WICB was not accountable to the public.
At the end of the day, West Indies cricket has one primary objective – a return to winning ways.