Minister of Sports, Senator Guy Yearwood, has branded the West Indies Cricket Board as "wicked" for considering an application from Bob Woolmer to coach the West Indies Cricket team.
Earlier this month, Woolmer, who coached South Africa into a dominating combination from 1994-99, confirmed he had discussions with the West Indies coach selection panel, but that he'd proposed working in a technical advisor's role more than as a fulltime coach.
Yearwood is of the view that the job should be given to former West Indies allrounder Eldine Baptiste.
Yearwood made the disclosure while delivering an address at the opening of the 2003 Antigua & Barbuda Basketball Association season at the JSC Sports Complex on Sunday.
"It is wicked that the West Indies Cricket Board would even entertain, let alone consider an application from Bob Woolmer to coach the West Indies cricket team. I have a personal problem with that," Yearwood said.
"What of all our great past players who dominated the game even while Bob Woolmer was a player, Is there no recognition for those amongst us who have excelled? Do you think Brazil would recruit the services of a foreign football coach?" the minister asked.
"Today, I ask the West Indies Cricket Board to stop the violence against our coaches and empower them to return West Indies cricket to its halcyon years. Let's give Eldine Baptiste the job," he said. "He has the expertise and has worked successfully in England and South Africa. His track record, as a coach, speaks for him and he is fully qualified to do the job," Yearwood added.
The news of Woolmer's application to coach the West Indies Cricket team broke after the Caribbean team's dismal showing in the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.
Roger Harper has decided not to re-apply for his position as West Indies coach. The West Indies Cricket Board invited new candidates to come forward following their side's early elimination from the World Cup. Harper was given the option of re-applying, but is believed to have stepped down to spend more time with his family.
The West Indies will return to action next month with a Test series against Australia.
Woolmer was appointed as the International Cricket Council's high performance manager in October, 2001, responsible for preparing associate member countries Canada, Netherlands, Kenya and Namibia for the World Cup.
His tenure was due to expire at the end of the tournament, although he's also been approached about continuing in that capacity.
The West Indies, which will host the 2007 World Cup, need to appoint a coach before the Australian Test tour of the Caribbean in April.
Along with Woolmer, three other candidates - Australian academy coach Bennett King, Baptiste, and former West Indies batsman Gus Logie, who coached Canada at the World Cup - were interviewed.
The interviewers will report to the WICB and a board meeting is expected to be held a few days after Sunday's World Cup final.
The key item on the agenda will be to discuss and ratify the nominations of the interviewers. (Antigua Sun)