In looking to do research on Canada’s record in international qualifying competitions over the last 20 years it became clear that there isn’t a consolidated list of administrative changes in Cricket Canada readily available. For convenience therefore here is a list of Cricket Canada national coaches from 2003 – when Jeff Thomas was removed just before the World Cup – and the present.
In this period there have been at least 14 individuals identified at some point as national coaches, some of them holding the position twice. There have been in fact at least 16 coaching changes in 16 years, with the position vacant for protracted periods as well, meaning the average tenure of the coach of the national team is measured in months, not years. the only period of stability was the 2007-11 tenure of Pubudu Dassanayake.
2003 Jeff Thomas
2003-4 Gus Logie
2004: Bryan Mauricette
2004: Rupert Gomes
March 2006-2007: Andy Pick at 2007 World Cup
2007-2011: Pubudu Dassanayake
Oct 2011-2012: Michael Dighton
June 2012-2013: Gus Logie
Dec 2013- Andy Pick: (temporary for WC qualifiers); otherwise vacant from Dec 2012 to Aug 2014
Aug 2014-Oct 2015: Mukesh Narula
2016: Davy Jacobs (temporary for Auty Cup)
May 2017: Henry Osinde
2018: Ingleton Liburd
Oct 2018: Davy Jacobs (temporary for Super 50 tournament in WI)
March 2019: Monty Desai (for Division 2 in Namibia only)
Oct 2019: Ingleton Liburd
Nov 2019: Arminder Bhinder (development team but representing Canada).
Cricket Canada has a published policy on coach appointments (dated 2017). The policy states
“1.4: In general, to ensure continuity, coaches are appointed for a minimum 2-year period, subject to probationary periods and annual review. The Board is responsible for approving conditions of employment, and renewal/ termination of agreements.”
This seems to be an eminently sensible policy, one that allows a coach an opportunity to get to know the talent pool, institute coaching systems, monitor effectiveness and strive for improvement.
The policy also outlines a detailed appointment process, including a committee with a mix of board and non-board members, a public call for applications, and job descriptions.
These are good policies, developed perhaps in response to the constant change in the coaching position in the preceding fourteen years.
Unfortunately however, it does not seem these have been followed. There have been no public calls for applicants, no evidence of a committee being in place, and six coaching changes in the two years since it was adopted.
Realistically, all the recent coaching changes have been short term appointments- interim coaches or appointed for a specific tournament. That may well be the reason that no public call for applications has occurred. However, it does suggest a failure to recognize the importance of continuity and the role of a national coach. Maybe this is reflected in the disappointing performance of national teams in qualifying events, but it means a lack of progress in other areas as well. The national coach should be doing far more than simply coaching a team in a tournament. We need a leader in developing other coaches, help the selectors with talent identification, work with the provinces on developing the resources need to nuture talent and much more.
For comparison, Papua New Guinea, who have been experiencing a period of significant success at Associate level, culminating in finishing second at the recent WC T20 qualifier, have had just three coaches since 2014- Dipak Patel (2014-17), Jason Gillespie (interim, 2017-18) and Joe Dawes (2018-present). The Netherlands coach Ryan Campbell has been in place since January 2017, with his predecessors being in place for three years and five years.
As Canada enters a re-building period, perhaps a high priority should be placed on recruiting the right person to lead coaching at a national level in Canada- and the best way to do this is probably through the policy already in place.