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October 22, 2007
West Indies have a new coach, but will that translate into new ideas and a new attitude and resolve from our cricketers?
John Dyson has landed the poison chalice of looking after the West Indies, ranked eighth in the world in both Tests and ODIs. In short, the West Indies are at an all-time low and, once more, an Aussie has been given the job of resurrecting the team.
Dyson has in some ways sneaked up on the job, as his name was never even mentioned in the short-list of candidates. Ottis Gibson and Dav Whatmore had topped the list or probables, but both took themselves out of the reckoning by opting for assignments, lesser in profile but lower in stress. Gibson has decided not to pass up the chance to be England's fast bowling coach and Whatmore has accepted an offer to head India's National Cricket Academy.
What is clear is that the cricket committee clearly does not have faith in a home-grown coach, as Dyson's selection is a rejection of former Test players David Williams, Phil Simmons and Eldine Baptiste.
Dyson was a tough cookie as a player and dogged enough to make a Test hundred at Sydney off an attack comprising Holding, Clarke, Garner and Croft. However, it is on his ability to iron out technical flaws and turn around a feeling of hopelessness in a team that has forgot how to win that he will be judged over the next year or so.
A coach alone cannot lift the West Indies out of the doldrums. There has to be a tournament bridging the gap between the youth tournament and the first-class season, and most importantly, the creation of a professional league where some of the best players in the world will be contracted to play in the Caribbean.
It would be remiss of me if I did not say farewell to Stephen Alleyne, the imposing, self-assured cricket administrator whose dedication to the job of delivering the 2007 World Cup to world-class standards and his attention to detail earned him high respect in the region and beyond.
Stephen was a mirror-image of his father, Charles Alleyne. Both tall and upright in physique and integrity. He was a lifelong diplomat in approach - a friend of all and an enemy of none. Today, the Empire Club, the insurance industry, and the rest of this country will head to the mecca at Kensington Oval to mourn one of the leading sons of the soil.
© Daily Nation
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