Alfonso Thomas named West Indies bowling coach
What's the story?
West Indies have appointed South Africa fast bowler Alfonso Thomas as their bowling coach ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers to be held in Zimbabwe next month. Also inducted are team physio David Kershaw and strength and conditioning coach Corey Bocking.
With West Indies failing to directly qualify for the mega event in 2019, these appointments and change in personnel have been forced to take place in their management.
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The World Cup Qualifiers begins on March 4 with ten teams battling out for two places in cricket's biggest tournament to be held in England next year. West Indies have been placed in Group A alongside Ireland, Netherlands, UAE and Papua New Guinea, while Group B consists of Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong and Nepal.
Though Alfonso played only 1 T20 for South Africa in 2007, his plethora of experience in domestic cricket – 164, 169 and 225 first-class, List A and T20 matches, respectively – prompted his selection as the bowling coach of West Indies.
The heart of the matter
Among other changes, former West Indies leg-spinner Rawl Lewis has been named the manager of the side, having previously worked as the team operations manager during his country's successful campaign in the World T20 in India in 2016.
"We are focused on improving team performance, as well as broadening and deepening the coaching expertise in the region," the Cricket West Indies director Jimmy Adams said. "We know we've got vital games and tournaments this year and we're confident that these appointments will strengthen the Windies squads for this year and our future plans."
West Indies begin the Qualifiers against UAE on March 6, then playing PNG and Ireland in the group stages. The top three teams from both groups will progress to the Super Sixes while the other teams would move into the playoffs. The finals of the competition is scheduled for March 25 at Harare.
Considering the relevance of the tournament and how West Indies have declined over the last few years, such appointments might boost their support staff, which would be lacking in experience while facing rising sides like Ireland.