Floyd Reifer has been unveiled as West Indies’ new interim head coach, replacing Richard Pybus with immediate effect, with Robert Haynes taking over from Courtney Browne as the new chairman of selectors.
The changes were announced at a press conference by Ricky Skerritt, the new president of CWI, who recently defeated the previous incumbent, Dave Cameron, in the board elections.
The appointments came as part of Skerritt’s commitment to what he described as a “Cricket First” mantra, his bid to draw a line under a controversial period for West Indies cricket and pave the way for the return of a number of former West Indies star players who, he said, had been “secretly, but actively, victimised” by the previous regime, and “banished … from selection consideration”.
“We have found it necessary to immediately adjust our selection policy to become more open, inclusive and player-centric,” Skerritt said.
“The changes we have triggered this week are more than a change in personnel or a shake-up in the ranks. This is a calculated strategic move designed to reignite the passion for a culture, where our cricket is being put back where it belongs – at the very centre.”
Reifer, who comes from Barbados, played six Tests, eight ODIs and one T20I for West Indies between 1997 and 2009, when he returned to the side after more than a decade’s absence to lead a depleted team against Bangladesh, following a strike by several of the region’s senior players.
“[Reifer] has lived the same principles of West Indian excellence that we now insist must prevail in our cricket,” said Skerritt, who also cited the importance of local coaches in bringing out the best in the region’s diverse but talented pool of cricketers. A new directive states that “not less than 4 out of every 5 members” of the coaching and support staff should be of West Indian origin.
“Up to the end of 2018 Floyd Reifer had been identified as the outstanding emerging local coach. He displayed this by leading the West Indies A team successfully, including victories against the England Lions, and ended the past year by coaching the Senior men’s team to a T20 series win in Bangladesh.
“Mr Reifer’s key coaching role in helping to set up the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) Marooners impressive win in the 2018 Regional Super 50 tournament is well documented.”
The appointments come after an uplifting home campaign against England in February and March, in which they pulled off a famous series win in the Tests, thanks in no small part to an inspirational run of form from their captain, Jason Holder, before securing a highly creditable 2-2 draw against England’s No.1-ranked ODI team.
“With a focused team that will be led by the new No.1 allrounder in the world, Jason Holder, and filled with a collection of our best possible available cricketers, I have no doubt that Coach Reifer is the right man at the right time.”
“Our landmark decision to immediately introduce a well-suited young West Indian professional as our men’s team coach … represents our commitment to celebrate the best of what it means to be West Indian. This decision also underscores the need for fresh thinking, and an even more urgent need to embrace the new inclusive selection policy.
“And in the midst of change, we have no doubt that our West Indian players, led expertly by Jason Holder, will be well prepared going to the World Cup. What we are now enforcing ahead of the upcoming World Cup is a new approach to strategic thinking while reviving authentic West Indian team spirit.”
Haynes, 54, played eight ODIs between 1989 and 1991, was described by Skerritt as the “most experienced and best suited” candidate for the interim selection role.
“We have found an interim Chairman who shares the philosophy of inclusiveness and therefore believes in our new selection policy,” Skerritt said. “Because of his impressive track record of good relations with players and past players, we have no doubt that Mr Haynes will engage with players everywhere, strictly in the interest of what is best for West Indian cricket.”
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.