Denrick Liburd and Enoch Lewis with a portion of the letter signed by the two Leeward Islands Cricket Board officials

The interim appointment of Richard Pybus as the West Indies senior men team head coach, have not gone well with at least one of the shareholder territories of Cricket West Indies. This is according to a December 16, 2018 dated strongly worded letter obtained by sportcaraibe.com, which was addressed to Ms Verlyn Faustin the CWI Corporate Secretary by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board Inc.

Enoch Lewis and Denrick Liburd were directed at a meeting of the Leeward Islands Cricket Board Ltd., to write to the CWI corporate secretary, “to express our profound disappointment, dissatisfaction, and dismay over what the LICB considers to be the total disregard shown for established procedure and due process leading up to and leading to the recent CWI Board of Directors (BoD) held on December 08 and 09, 2018.

“We refer specifically to the unacceptable way in which the decision to appoint Richard Pybus as interim head coach for the senior men’s team was m

Cameron’s handpicking of Richard Pybus was made known by CWI president Dave Cameron during the tele-conference held on Wednesday November 28, 2018; the first of its kind held by Cricket West Indies since Cameron was elected president about six years ago.

Because of the short notice which was approximately 24 hours, and technical challenges, Enoch Lewis was only able to attend the tele-conference for a short period of time.

CWI president Dave Cameron informed the directors during the meeting, that the Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams had traveled to Bangladesh earlier in the month of November, to lend support to the team in the absence of Stuart Law, was asked to hold discussions with the then interim head coach Nic Pothas about a compensation package.

Nic Pothas had taken over the role as interim head coach of the West Indies senior men cricket team for the tour to Bangladesh, but without a compensation package. A salary offer according to Cameron was made to Pothas of about US$12,500.00, countered with a US$22,000.00, which was similar to the amount which was being paid to then head coach Stuart Law.

It was apparent that Cricket West Indies made a blunder when Nic Pothas was hired without a compensation package. The CWI president reported to the November 28, 2018 teleconference that he had received an email from Pothas, in which the then interim head coach attempted to justify why the job was worth more than the CWI offer of US$12,500.00. It was following this email that all discussions with Nic Pothas was terminated.

Dave Cameron (left) and Richard Pybus together at a CWI event

During that November 28, 2018 tele-conference, CWI president Cameron informed the meeting that he had contacted Richard Pybus, had concluded a deal with him, including a salary of US$16,000.00 plus other unspecified benefits for Pybus to become the next interim West Indies senior men head coach.

In its December 16, 2018 letter, the Leeward Islands Cricket Board concerns were spelt out. “The salary offer to Mr. Pybus was significantly higher than that to Mr. Pothas which was capped at US$12,500.00 or 56.8% of the current salary paid to the outgoing head coach Mr. Stuart Law.

“The negotiations conducted with Mr. Pybus by President Cameron was without pre-authorisation and input from the Board.

“None of the DoC, the Cricket Committee, or the Technical Cricket Committee were consulted to engage or negotiate with Mr. Pybus.”

The Leeward Islands Cricket Board reminded the meeting of the consistent claims by Cricket West Indies that it is a highly, transparent organisation, and of the negative doubts raised by a number of regional Prime Ministers and other stakeholders.

Jimmy Adams, CWI Director of Cricket had recommend a process which was adopted by the Board of Directors, which was to appoint someone from the existing coaching staff, in order to ensure continuity and stability.

The LICB called for a new recruitment process to be opened, if it is now the intention to appoint someone who was not on the list submitted by Jimmy Adams, or to appoint someone from outside the Caribbean region.

At the Cricket West Indies September 22-23, 2018 Board of Directors’ meeting, following then head coach Stuart Law having submitted his resignation; Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams was asked to prepare a paper including a list of potential candidates, along with his Adams recommendation for the Board’s consideration.

That paper with its purpose listed as ‘To update the Board on the list of candidates under consideration to act in the interim as head coach for the Windies senior men’s team’ was presented to Board members on September 26th, 2018.

Named in the Director of Cricket’s list for consideration were coaches Nic Pothas, Roddy Estwick, Floyd Reifer, Gus Logie, Desmond Haynes, Toby Radford, Andre Coley, Esuan Crandon, Start Williams, Rayon Griffith, and Robert Samuels.

Cricket West Indies Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams

CWI’s Director of Cricket recommended Nic Pothas for the interim head coach job, following consultation with the outgoing head coach, and the current senior men’s team captain, “who both emphasised the importance of engaging someone from the existing senior men’s coaching staff to ensure stability.”

Both the outgoing senior men team head coach and the current captain supported Nic Pothas suitability for the interim head coach job, having performed in this role for the West Indies senior men team tour to Sri Lanka, and his familiarity with the West Indies team dynamics in all three formats of the game as the existing fielding coach for the past seven months.

Adams also recommended that Pothas be elevated to the interim head coach position, effective January 2019 to September 2019, or as such time as a full time head coach was appointed.

Additionally, the Director of Cricket also recommended a five-step process for the recruitment of a full time head coach, ranging from advertising the position, to short-listing the candidates, with subsequent interviews which would lead to a final selection. This was consistent with international best practices, and the process was already adopted by CWI Board of Directors. This process was used to appointed the three most recent coaches of the West Indies senior men cricket team.

When the matter came up at the regular quarterly Board meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on December 8th and 9th 2018 in Trinidad and Tobago, the Leeward Islands Cricket Board Inc., expressed the view “that the Board needs to follow due process and let the process determine the outcome.”

The handpicking of the regional team’s head coach by the president is unprecedented in the recent multi-decade history of the history of Cricket West Indies. This action the Leeward Islands pointed out was unusual for a number of reasons.

“The person in question had not formally expressed an interest in the post, he has limited international coaching experience, he has not coached an international team for the past five years, and he is not amongst the list of coaches identified by the DoC, and previously approved by the Board for consideration,” the LICB wrote in their letter.

The recommendation which was piloted by Cameron eventually received support received majority support at the meeting, and according to the LICB letter, “the records would show that the handling of this matter provoked heated debate and proved t be a very divisive matter amongst the Directors.

“This is evidence by the equal split of votes amongst Directors from the shareholder territories. This is clear indication that there are concerns.”

Nic Pothas (right) at a training sessions with the West Indies senior men cricket team

According to a source form the twin-island republic, it was the Trinidad and Tobago vote which allowed the decision by president Cameron to handpick Richard Pybus as interim head coach, to pass.

The LICB further pointed out that the hiring of Richard Pybus as interim head coach would result in a significant high cost, “given the likely hiring of new coaches, and conversely the termination of the existing coaching most of whom are under contract until September 2019, and because this cost is unplanned and unbudgeted and happening at a time when CWI is experiencing serious cash flow challenges as reflected by the existing cash deficit, which has negatively impacted the company capacity to meet day to day expenses.”

The Leeward Island Cricket Board Inc., called for the decision “to hand-picked Richard Pybus as interim head coach be rescinded, that the process to identify a head coach be started immediately based on established and transparent procedures, good faith negotiations take place with Mr Pothas and a reasonable offer be made to him e.g. the same US$16,000.00 that is being offered to the outside persons rather than the US$12,500.00 being offered for a job which has a present market value of US$22,000.00.

“That as initially decided by the Board, Mr. Pothas should be engaged until September 2019, or until such time a new coach is properly recruited.”

The Leeward Islands Cricket Board Inc. is of the strong opinion that “we must at all times be guided by integrity, fairness, due process, and established practices.”

The LICB also warned that they do take the matter very seriously, “and will therefore not hesitate to pursue all and every option available to us to ensure that this matter is treated with the procedural integrity that it deserves.”