West Indies appoint Richie to lead them into next era

Former West Indies captain Richie Richardson has been appointed manager of the embattled regional side.

Richardson was appointed by the West Indies Cricket Board on a two-year contract and will begin his duties on the three-match One-day International tour of Sri Lanka later this month.

Richardson, a member of the champion West Indies team of the 1980s, led the regional side in 24 of his 86 Tests and 87 of his 224 ODIs, in a career that spanned 13 years.

He replaces Joel Garner, the Barbados Cricket Association president and WICB director, who served as Windies team manager since the tour of Australia in late 2009.

“I feel tremendously honoured to be once again asked to serve West Indies cricket. I believe that it is critical for me to lend support to the efforts to re-develop the sport in the region,” Richardson, 49, said.

“As a former player and captain I gave my all for West Indies cricket on the field. We are at the cusp of a new era and it is now time for me to contribute off the field and aid in the building and resurgence of West Indies cricket.”

Richardson’s first real Test will be the Cricket World Cup which bowls off in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19 to March 2.

West Indies, who won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979, have not been major contenders in the tournament since reaching the final and losing to India in 1983.

Ironically, Richardson was at the helm of the last side which reached the semi-finals of the showpiece when it was last staged in Asia 15 years ago.

WICB chief executive Ernest Hilaire said the Antiguan would be an asset to the Windies set up. “Richie brings immense value to the Team Management Unit,” Hilaire said.

“He is a legendary former West Indian batsman and captain but he also brings professional business expertise and this provides an ideal fit as we continue to enhance our professional capacity in all areas of West Indies cricket.”

Richardson amassed 5,949 runs at an average of 44.39 in Tests, along with 16 centuries, while garnering 6,248 runs in ODIs at an average of 33.41 with five hundreds, before quitting international cricket in 1996.