Ottis Gibson, the former West Indies allrounder, is set to become only the second black head coach in the history of county cricket, after being appointed to take charge at Yorkshire on a three-year contract, starting at the end of February.
Gibson, who won the T20 World Cup as West Indies head coach in 2012, has held the same role for South Africa, and also served as bowling coach for England and Bangladesh. Prior to that, he enjoyed a distinguished county career for Durham, Glamorgan and Leicestershire, and once took ten wickets in an innings for Durham against Hampshire in 2007.Gibson will report to the interim managing director of Yorkshire Cricket, Darren Gough, and will have overall responsibility for the performance and management of the first team, supported by two assistant coaches who will be appointed shortly.
The appointment comes as Yorkshire seek to rehabilitate their image in the wake of Azeem Rafiq's claims of institutional racism at the club. In the wake of Rafiq's emotional testimony before a parliamentary select committee in November, Yorkshire underwent a purge of its existing coaching and medical staff, with 16 sackings including Andrew Gale, the former head coach, and Martyn Moxon, the director of cricket.
"We're delighted to welcome Ottis to the club," Lord Kamlesh Patel, Yorkshire's chairman, said. "His playing and coaching credentials speak for themselves and he has had a distinguished career performing at the highest level.
"Ottis' character and his commitment to buying into the process that we are going through at Yorkshire County Cricket Club shone through in our discussions. He is someone that I know will encourage dialogue and help foster a culture of inclusion at the club, as well as supporting and developing the world-class talent we have here and pushing them to the next level. I look forward to working with Ottis over the coming weeks and months as we continue our rebuild of the club".Gibson added: "I'm extremely honoured and excited to be given the opportunity to join Yorkshire County Cricket Club as head coach. This is one of the most prestigious roles in English county cricket, and I am really looking forward to working with this talented group of players to take the club forward. I've spoken at length with Goughy about the direction the club is heading in and I'm excited to be a part of that future."
Gibson will join up with the club once his contract with the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League finishes next month. In the interim, the former Yorkshire fast bowler Ryan Sidebottom has been standing in as head coach, although he ran into controversy last week, after suggesting the club needed to "forget" the events of 2021. It was a choice of words for which he later apologised.Gough, Yorkshire's director of cricket, added: "Ottis becoming head coach is an important moment for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and we are very happy that he has become part of the team. Ottis is one of the best coaches in the world and will be a fantastic addition. His knowledge, commitment, experience and cricket know-how will be vital for us as we move into pre-season and get ourselves up and running. We were absolutely blown away by the level of interest and quality of candidates for this role, but I have no doubt that he's the best person for the job and will pick up the challenge with relish".