Where are the local coaches in the Caribbean Premier League?
The Premier League in West Indies is woefully short of local head coaches and all the big names are understudies including Carl Hooper, was flown in from his home in Australia to be with Hawksbills
Ian Chappell once described coaches as vehicles that ferry cricket teams from hotel to ground and back; by such a definition, the best coach would be a Japanese by the name of Toyota.
Andre Russell of Jamaica Tallawahs returns the ball to the 'keeper during a Caribbean Premier League against Barbados Tridents on August 3. Inset: Jamaica Tallawahs' coach Mickey Arthur
Times have changed. Somewhat behind all other sports, even cricket's skeptics have come round to accepting the idea of a team coach. Now every school, minor club and first-class and Test squad has one.
Not only that. At the professional level, they have specialists to deal with bowling, batting and fielding; the Melbourne Stars in Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash even have a "chief hydration officer".
There are coaches of every nationality scattered across the cricketing map for every format of the game.
The Twenty20 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is one such tournament. For its second season, it has assigned five new foreign head coaches to its six franchises and introduced the Australian, Tom Moody, as director of cricket.
In its first year, it used icons from the golden age of West Indies cricket – Sir Viv Richards, Sir Andy Roberts, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes – as head coaches. They have now been designated "mentors", a none too subtle difference.
The only combination that remains the same is the West Indian pairing of Roger Harper and Sir Curtly Ambrose with the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
The Englishman Paul Nixon was the only foreign coach last year; his Jamaica Tallawahs took the title. He has been replaced by Mickey Arthur, one-time national coach of his native South Africa as well as Australia.
Tim Nielsen, Arthur's predecessor with Australia, has taken over the Antigua Hawksbills. Simon Helmut, also Australian with experience in the IPL and the Big Bash, is in charge of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, Robin Singh, the Trinidad-born Indian, of the Barbados Tridents. Matthew Maynard was promoted from assistant with the St Lucia Zouks in 2013 to chief in 2014.
Their understudies are all West Indian. Among them is Carl Hooper, the batting stylist over 102 Tests between 1987 and 2002; he was flown in from his home in Australia to be with the Hawksbills.
Galling as it may be to West Indian pride in a sport that once typified these tiny islands' excellence, such an arrangement is not surprising. Perhaps those who call the shots in a league prefaced with the word "Caribbean" would have preferred a few more from the region; they seemed unconvinced that such candidates measured up to their standards.
The problem is the uncoordinated approach to coaching from territory to territory in West Indies.
WICB's head coach, Ottis Gibson, complains that players arrive at the highest level brought up through an assortment of processes.
For long, Tony Cozier has remained the voice of West Indies cricket