Another coach lays down the bat

The West Indies’ Bennett King became the latest international coach to quit on Monday as the revolving doors of cricket management gathered speed.

King quit after the West Indies, who won the first two World Cups and reached the final in 1983, won just one Super Eights match and failed to qualify for the last four of the 2007 tournament.

The West Indies Cricket Board announced King’s resignation on Monday. ”The West Indies Cricket Board has accepted with regret the resignation of coach King,” a board statement said.

The statement said King will continue his contract with the West Indies board until the end of May, but he will not tour England with the team.

”King will not accompany the team on the England tour. The board will announce the new management team, including the coach,” the statement said.

King’s presence in the West Indies during May is to facilitate setting up a regional cricket academy, the board said. He was responsible for establishing and managing the Australian academy and is now involved in drawing up the plan for something similar in the Caribbean.

King joins Bangladesh’s Dav Whatmore, England’s Duncan Fletcher and India’s Greg Chappell in walking away from their jobs. Whatmore decided not to stay on, while the other two walked amid speculation they would be fired.

Of the four coaches still with teams in the tournament, Australia’s John Buchanan has already announced he is leaving and his replacement is in place. Sri Lanka’s Tom Moody’s contract ends after the tournament and he may be looking for another job, although Sri Lanka would love to retain the popular Australian.

Micky Arthur of South Africa and New Zealand’s John Bracewell appear safe in their positions — for now. Being knocked out of the World Cup at the semifinal stage for the third time might not please folks back in South Africa, however.

”With the pressure that is put on coaches at World Cups, there are a lot of us who may have their jobs up for grabs after this tournament,” said Bracewell. ”A few have fallen by the wayside already — and there may be more.”

Changing balance

Eight of the world’s 10 Test-playing nations are changing coaches and some will inevitably sign up with other teams, changing the balance of international cricket.

The most dramatic of changes was the sudden death of Pakistan’s English coach Bob Woolmer, found dead in his Kingston hotel room the morning after his team’s upset defeat to lowly Ireland, a loss that sent Pakistan out of the tournament in the early stages.

Woolmer’s death is still being investigated, but murder is suspected. His contract with the turbulent Pakistan team was due to expire in June and he had not been expected to renew it.

Whatmore, a former Australian Test player who has rapidly advanced Bangladesh, has already coached Sri Lanka successfully. He has been named as a possible successor to Chappell, who quit amid Indian fury over also being knocked out of the tournament in the early stages.

India installed former player Ravi Shastri as cricket manager and separate batting and bowling coaches for the Bangladesh series next month, but only on short-term deals.

Last week, after England was demolished by nine wickets by South Africa and once again failed in the World Cup, Duncan Fletcher announced his resignation, although pressure to fire him was strong. Fletcher oversaw England’s 2005 Ashes series victory, but spent the past six months watching his team lose crucial one-day and Test matches.

World cricket’s most successful team, Australia, will be losing Buchanan at the end of the tournament after eight years. He will be replaced by his former assistant, 38-year-old Tim Nielsen, a former wicketkeeper and batsman for South Australia.

Zimbabwe were bounced out of Test cricket because their standard has dropped alarmingly amid organisational disarray and political interference. They have not played any Test matches for two years and coach Kevin Curran is reported to be close to resigning.

Even surprise World Cup Super Eights qualifier Ireland are changing coach after South African Adrian Birrell announced before the World Cup that he would leave afterwards. Former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons has succeeded him. — Sapa-AP

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