Whither Gibson?

Officials mum on coach; but players have their say

President of the West Indies Cricket Board, Dave Cameron, was not in the mood today to talk about the suggested break-up between the board and West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson when contacted by Barbados TODAY.

Cloud over Ottis Gibson's West Indies coaching future.
Cloud over Ottis Gibson’s West Indies coaching future.

Furthermore, chief executive officer of the WICB, Michael Muirhead, when contacted by Barbados TODAY, said that he could neither confirm nor deny reports that Gibson had been sacked or had possibly resigned. Speaking from a conference in Suriname, Muirhead said he was presently unable to access documentation of what may or may not be happening and promised when he did he would be better able to comment on Gibson’s status.

“I can’t definitively say that it is true. I have not seen correspondence to what may or may not concern Ottis so at this point, right now, I am not in a position. It may be there, it may be true but I don’t know for a fact and I have not been able to get that information,” Muirhead said.

But amid reports that the former Barbados and West Indies fast-bowling allrounder had been dismissed two years before the expiration of his new contract, two West Indies players had their say today on Gibson’s situation while requesting that their names not be revealed.

One player told Barbados TODAY that he would not be surprised if Gibson had been fired and questioned why “he wasn’t fired any sooner”. He explained that while Gibson may have been a good bowling coach, in his opinion, many current players had no confidence in him as a good leader. He complained that in terms of player management off-field, Gibson was not the most competent. He added that many of the players felt that Gibson’s attitude towards certain players, particularly senior members, led to many good players not bringing their A-game to the sport.

“Sars [Ramnaresh Sarwan] ain’t playing, [Suleiman] Benn was out of it for a while, Chris [Gayle] was out for a while, Bravo . . . a good couple players were out – it was definitely personal. He should have been fired long time ago. A lot of players didn’t want to play under him; a couple of the players did go to the [West Indies Players Association] about him. I know this might cause trouble but I can tell you they also went to the CEO too and others,” the West Indies player said.

The second West Indies player further told Barbados TODAY that if Gibson had resigned, he was probably forced to do so “to save face” because there was a definite breakdown with him and the players. The player added that the problem started when as head coach Gibson made the “tough decision” to drop Sarwan from the squad, then subsequently “fell out” with other senior players. Since that time, he said, the majority of the players did not get along well with him.

“No relationship, so no function,” he described the players/Gibson situation.

Gibson is currently not in Grenada with the West Indies team as they prepare for tomorrow’s first One Day International against Bangladesh. Yesterday assistant coach and former West Indies opening batsman Stuart Williams oversaw team practice and is likely to take charge for an interim period. There have been unconfirmed reports of former South Africa and Australia coach, Mickey Arthur, taking up the reigns as the head coach. He recently coached the Jamaica Tallawahs in the 2014 edition of the Caribbean Premier League.

An impasse between Gayle, Gibson and the WICB, during which Gayle accused Gibson of being a “user” and “messing with players’ minds” led to the Jamaican left-hander being out of the side for 18 months. A spat with Sarwan also led to the Guyanese being sidelined from the side for more than a year. During that time Sarwan accused Gibson of hurting him mentally and emotionally.

“The coach said some negative stuff that hurt me mentally and emotionally. Mentally I was broken down. It took a toll on my confidence and the way I played. Now, I’m away from all those problems, my mind is at ease and I have had nothing to worry about, no coach to say any negative things,” Sarwan told the BBC two years ago.

Three years ago, Shivnarine Chanderpaul also complained about Gibson’s coaching role, stating that after serving the West Indies team successfully for more than a decade Gibson was telling him how he should play his game. The prolific and usually sedate Guyanese left-hander said then he was much happier under Australian coach John Dyson.

Gibson began his tenure as Windies coach in February 2010. Since that time West Indies have played 29 Tests, of which they have won nine and lost 16. Of the 90 ODIs played during his tenure the team have won 36 and lost 48. Gibson has also supervised 45 T20 internationals, with 22 wins and 21 loses. He led the team to victory in the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.

Efforts to reach Gibson today were futile.



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