UWI Vice chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles has described interim West Indies Head Ccoach Richard Pybus’ perception of the now-defunct high-performance centre (HPC) as “deeply troubling”, and says the Englishman failed to understand what was required to develop the modern West Indies player.
Sir Hilary, a leading regional academic who has written prolifically on West Indies cricket, charged that the HPC project was curtailed at a time when it was beginning to produce results, and had ultimately denied young players access to a “treasure trove of knowledge”, especially from the legends of the game.
Cricket West Indies’ decision to close the HPC came during Pybus’s three-year tenure as director of cricket.
“He entered into this region at a time when we were developing our strategic response to our problem in the Caribbean and were getting results,” said Sir Hilary, a former Cricket West Indies director.
“He came possessed with a view that young West Indian cricketers did not need to be exposed to the mind game in the way in which those persons such as the elders and the legends had indicated that they must.”
On the contrary, Sir Hilary argued that the mental aspect had been one of the main areas of concern at the time, pointing out that several former foreign West Indies coaches like Bennett King and John Dyson had made similar assessments.
Pybus has been a controversial figure in the Caribbean ever since his appointment as director of cricket in November 2013. He oversaw the contentious ‘West Indies first policy’ which required all players to feature in domestic tournaments in order to be eligible for international selection, and also presided over the closure of the UWI Cave Hill-based HPC.
Pybus stepped down from the post in 2017 only to return as high performance director the following year, charged with improving “high-performance programmes and standards within franchise cricket”.
Last January, he was controversially appointed West Indies men’s head coach, following the departure of Australian Stuart Law.