‘Not interested’: Harper on West Indies coaching role
By Akeem Greene
Former West Indies all-rounder Roger Harper has no interest in the role of Head Coach of the West Indies senior men’s team. He believes however, the candidate for the job lies right within the Caribbean and not beyond the shores of the region.
After two years on the job, Stuart Law recently resigned from the post and departed in a shade of scrutiny prior to the tour of Bangladesh, a series Cricket West Indies said would be his last before he joining English club Middlesex.
It meant South Africa-born Nic Pothas, the fielding coach, was appointed as interim Head Coach for the ongoing Bangladesh series.
Law’s departure follows Ottis Gibson (2010-2014) and Phil Simmons (2015-2016)- both T20 World Cup winners- as appointed Head Coaches who severed ties either by force or choice with Windies within the last four years.
This seemingly high turnover begs the question: who is the right man for the job?
At 55, Harper holds an English Level-Three accreditation for which he has utilised in coaching West Indies, Kenya and the Guyana Amazon Warriors to some degree of success.
He told News Room in an exclusive interview: “Based on the trend, it is unlikely there would be a proposal to come my way, but at this point I am not really interested. The board seems to have a penchant for foreign coaches and I think it is something they need to reflect on because over the years we had a number of foreign coaches and I think we have had limited success with these foreign coaches. The tournaments we have won; all were won with West Indian coaches.”
Harper, who coached West Indies from 2000 to 2003 after retiring from international cricket with 25 Tests and 105 ODIs, added, “Another thing is that some of them [foreign coaches] seem to just use the opportunity as a stepping stone to move on to bigger opportunities and it is something we really need to look at and take stock. I think there are a number of highly qualified coaches in the Caribbean who are capable of doing the job and doing the job effectively and successfully.”
History shows that Australian Bennett King (2005-2007) was the irst foreign coach to guide West Indies when he replaced Gus Logie, who was sacked after they won the 2004 Champions Trophy in England.
Another Australian John Dyson coached the maroons from 2007-2009 until Gibson took charge.
While Harper could not indicate precisely who is the right fit for the position, he reaffirmed that his past teammates are equipped for the position should they be selected.
“There a number of West Indians who are qualified and very capable. We recently had Phil Simmons here who is coaching successfully around the world and we got rid of him. Desmond Haynes, who Sir Vivian Richards recommends, and there are a lot of other coaches around.”
Law’s departure marked the end of a near two-year stint, marked mainly by a string of disappointing results.
He won six of his 17 Tests in charge with series wins coming only against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in seven tours. In 31 ODIs across nine bilateral series, Law oversaw five wins and 21 defeats, and was without a single series success. In T20s, he managed a mere eight wins in 22 matches, while losing 13.
Pothas has already suffered an embarrassing 64-run loss to Bangladesh in the first of two away Tests.