ROGER HARPER remained non-committal yesterday on reports that he had not reapplied for the job as West Indies team coach.
“I really don’t want to answer that,” he replied when asked, adding that he was unaware of widespread speculation that he would quit his post at the end of the current World Cup.
Applications for manager and coach have already been assessed by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) which earlier stated the decisions would not be announced until the World Cup is over.
Harper, 39, the former Guyana captain who played 25 Tests between 1987 and 1994, was appointed coach on a three year contract in succession to Sir Viv Richards in March 2000.
At the same time, Kittian businessman Ricky Skerritt was made manager.
According to sources close to the WICB, Skerritt has reapplied for an extention on his contract but Harper, under whom the West Indies have won nine and lost 19 of 39 Tests, has not.
Two former West Indies Test players, Gus Logie and Eldine Baptiste, and Bennett King, the Queenslander who heads the Australian Academy, are reportedly on the short list to be new coach.
Trinidadian Logie, 42, played 52 Tests between 1983 and 1991. He has been the WICB’s youth and ‘A’ team coach for the past five years and is now coaching the Canadian team at the World Cup, a post made available through the WICB.
Antiguan Baptiste, 42 next month, had 10 Tests as an all-rounder between 1983 and 1990. He has made a reputation over the past dozen years as player and coach with Eastern Province and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa where he now resides.
King, 38, was coach of Queensland, the Australian state champions, from the 1999 to 2002 when he took up his post at the Academy. He spent a month at the new Shell West Indies Academy in Grenada during its first session in 2001 and has advised the WICB on its coaching programmes.
If Harper is replaced, the West Indies would start the home series against Australia in April with their sixth coach in the past seven years, following Andy Roberts, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall, Richards and himself.