Most Unwanted!
August 31, 2007

Most Unwanted!

Ian Allen feels that he is the most unwanted person in the sight of the executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, after he was once again overlooked for a coaching stint with the senior national team.{{more}}

Allen, who was the last senior team coach, was passed over in favour of former St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Windwards off spinner Irvin Warrican for the upcoming Windwards Tournament, set for next month on home soil.

But, what has peeved Allen has been the Association’s manner in which the process was carried out.

The normally reserved and soft-spoken Allen did not hide his deep feeling of hurt for his most recent treatment.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT last Tuesday, he said, “I must say I feel disappointed, as I really wanted to put back what I have learnt into cricket”.

Baffled at the unfolding of events, Allen said he only learned of being sidelined when he received a telephone call from Peter Campbell, an executive member of the Association, informing him that he was part of the coaching staff, along with Warrican and Nixon Mc Lean. Campbell was named as the team’s manager.

Allen, who is the current coach of the Windward Islands senior team, a job he has held since 2004, on reflection, strongly believes his previous appointments were made as last resorts.

The 41-year-old Allen pointed to instances when, on the unavailability of others, he was thrust into the position.

The first axe came down on Allen in 2002 when, as coach, St. Vincent and the Grenadines won the 2001 Windwards Tournament, then went on to play in the Red Stripe Cup in Jamaica as a single entity.

Allen lost the coaching duties that same year, again to Warrican.

“Don’t give a man the coaching job on someone else’s unavailability, but on merit,” the former St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Windwards and West Indies fast bowler said.

According to Allen, it seems that Warrican is the Association’s point man when it comes to senior coaching.

Allen revealed that Warrican was the preferred choice as coach in 2004, but had to leave for studies overseas, hence he was the next option.

After retaining the post in 2005, Allen had to sit out the inaugural Stanford 20/20 Tournament last year in Antigua and Barbuda, as the Association gave the job to Alfred Bynoe.

The unfavoured Allen was also dumped earlier this year as a selector to this country’s Under-19 cricket team. Again, according to him, with no formal correspondence.

Unable to understand his continuous marginalisation by successive executives, Allen does not see his qualifications or lack thereof as being an issue.

A holder of a West Indies Level Two Coaching certificate, Allen, who played two Tests for the West Indies in 1991 in England, has also attended courses in fielding and fast bowling, as well as a short course with former West Indies coach, Australian Bennett King.

Allen was in the capacity of coach when the Windwards reached the final of the KFC Cup earlier this year, narrowly losing to Trinidad and Tobago here at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

Topping his list of achievements is his appointment as West Indies A Team coach on a tour to Sri Lanka in 2005.

An eager Allen was anticipating another stint at the local senior level, following a one week training course in England last month hosted by the English Cricket Board (ECB).

Allen was the Windwards’ representative at the course.

Despite his present state of mind, Allen still looks forward to assisting in the development of cricket on the local scene, especially among youngsters.

Undaunted by the Association’s actions, Allen, who turns out for Victors One in the domestic cricket competition, is looking forward anxiously to the Windwards doing better at the upcoming regional season.

As an added incentive, Allen is anticipating a call up as assistant coach to the West Indies team, with the WICB seemingly rotating that post among the territorial coaches.

In summing up the Association’s mode of operations, Allen, who was named Coach of the Year for 2006 at the awards ceremony of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, said, “They need to be more professional in their approach.”