Richardson backed for top job

  • Not interested: Wendell Smith has ruled himself out of contention for the vacant Bermuda coach’s position

Wendell Smith, one of the island’s most respected coaches, has confirmed he is not interested in replacing brother Clay as the next Bermuda cricket coach.

Smith, who held the post for a few months in early 2005 before assisting Gus Logie in guiding the team to World Cup qualification in Ireland during the same year, was viewed as a possible candidate after Clay opted not to seek a renewal of his contract.

The Bermuda Cricket Board recently advertised the position, with president Lloyd Smith stating that the board intends to fill the position with a local coach.

Herbie Bascome is believed be interested in the role. He declined to comment when contacted yesterday. Another possible candidate is Jeff Richardson, of Somerset Cricket Club.

“I hope they select somebody who has principles, who is able to influence the top players to come out,” Wendell Smith said.

“The person I think would be ideal for the job is Jeff Richardson.

“Jeff knows the Somerset players and a lot of them are key players, like Derrick Brangman and Chris Douglas, who he has a rapport with. I know he has high standards; his results speak for themselves.”

Smith said he was not among the candidates for the post, which will be a part-time position.

“Number one, I’m concentrating on my family, two I’m extremely busy with work at school and, three, I’m considering other options that are more important to me at this time,” said Smith, the vice-principal at West Pembroke School. I do not want to have to be burdened like Clay was, having to train and work with a team that, unfortunately, is lacking some very significant pieces, players, that are causing the national programme to be substandard.

“Clay, to his credit, laid some strict laws about training attendance and standards, but didn’t get buy-in from some people. There were some established players who did not appreciate what he was trying to do by having training standards as far as attendance.

“He paid the price because it meant that he was without some very significant players. But if you are going to do something you have to have some principles.

“Who wants a training session when you’ve got five guys, seven guys, eight guys? If I commit to something, I’m going to give my all.

“I’ll be up to two, three o’clock in the morning, during my lunch hours, eating, drinking and sleeping cricket.

“People may know that I’m busy; they see me commentating.

“There is only one coaching job on the island that I would consider now.”

The brothers were a part of that 2005 group that qualified for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. Wendell was the assistant coach and Clay the captain, before an injury in an early match left Irving Romaine captaining the team to qualification.

“I was the coach for two or three months at the beginning of the year, just before Gus came here,” Smith recalled.

“He was a wonderful person to work with; I learnt a tremendous amount from him.

“He was a fantastic coach, in fact the best coach I ever worked with. In 2005 the biggest difference in that team was the commitment.

“The team had Irving Romaine, [Dwayne] ‘Sluggo’ Leverock, Clay Smith, Janeiro Tucker, guys who were fully committed, training regularly. That does not happen today; the standards have dropped.”