Harper appointed Academy Head Coach

Guyana Chronicle
May 9, 2003

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FORMER West Indies coach Roger Harper has been appointed Head Coach of the West Indies Shell Cricket Academy at St George's University in Grenada, according to well-placed sources.

The 40-year-old Guyanese, who declined to re-apply for the senior team-coaching job, will take over as Academy Head Coach from Sunday and will be in charge of 25 students during this year's three-month programme.

Sources say former Barbados youth manager/coach Darnley Boxill has also been appointed Technical, Tactical and Motor Skills Coach at the academy, which gets going on May 16. The 59-year-old Boxill played a handful of matches as wicketkeeper for Barbados in the late 1960s and has attended coaching clinics at the Shell Academy and in Birmingham, England.

Former Antigua and West Indies pacer Kenny Benjamin will also join Harper's staff to work with the bowlers, the source said.

For Harper, the move to the academy is a perfect fit. He enjoyed success with the West Indies 'A' team but saw his three-year term with the senior team marred by acts of indiscipline and rank disrespect from one group towards the end.

Harper, an ECB Level III qualified coach, is viewed as one of the most professional coaches in the Caribbean and it is believed he is better suited to working with the young, talented crop of cricketers at the academy level.

In 25 Tests between 1983 and 1993, Harper took 46 wickets at 28.06 but he was never able to command a place in the pace-friendly bowling attacks under Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards.

The hiring of Harper as Academy Head Coach comes at a crucial time for the academy, which was launched in 2001 as a joint venture between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Shell Caribbean Ltd. and Grenada's St George's University.

Last year, a scathing report by two Australian coaches who spent three weeks at the institution recommended that the WICB terminate all programmes at the academy because it fulfilled very few of the requirements needed to operate as a professional outfit.

The Aussie coaches -- 'Toot' Byron and Tim Coyle -- also condemned Academy Director Dr Rudi Webster for interfering and imposing his will on the players, "despite the fact Dr Webster didn't see any of our coaching after day two, and never attended one session for the remainder of our stay."

The pair said Webster continually changed the batting techniques of the players and interfered with the actions of two bowlers to the extent they could have injured themselves.

After that report, the WICB promised a "thorough review and analysis" of the Academy programme and facilities and promised to "make the appropriate public comment" but, to date the board is yet to say what has been done, if anything.

Academy Students for 2003:

* Dwayne Bravo, Amit Jaggernauth, Denzil James, Kenton Thompson (Trinidad & Tobago)

* Jason Bennett, Mwanghi Broomes, Randy Thomas, Carlo Morris, Ryan Wiggins (Barbados)

* Damodar Daesrath, Derwin Christian, Krishna Arjune, Brian Stephney (Guyana)

* Maurice Kepple, Andrew Richardson, Jerome Taylor,Shawn Findlay, Danza Hyatt, Dwight Washington, Tamar Lambert (Jamaica)

* Tonito Willett, Juari Edwards (Leeward Islands)

* Greg Francois, Dennis George, Othneil Baptiste (Windward Islands). (Caribbeancricket.com)

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