WA Premier Cricket: Joondalup captain Michael Swart is coach after Ric Olsen sacking

Michael Swart is now captain-coach. Picture: Dan White
Michael Swart is now captain-coach. Picture: Dan White

JOONDALUP captain Michael Swart has explained the club’s decision to sack premiership coach Ric Olsen in WA Premier Cricket.

Swart is now captain-coach of the side and confident the surprise dismissal won’t disrupt the Centurion’s tilt at a third flag from five seasons.

The former WA cricketer said the committee dismissed Olsen after he did not adhere to a new system of team selection introduced with the arrival of club president Martin Hicks, who replaced Max Goldenberg this year.

The Times understands Olsen had full reign of selection last year, but this season the committee decided a panel, which included Olsen, would control selection.

Swart claimed Olsen had missed multiple selection meetings and been given “numerous warnings”.

“He had ample opportunities and he didn’t want to conform with what we were trying to do,” he said.

Olsen was a successful coach at the Centurions, helping them break a 35-year premiership drought in 2013 before claiming another title in 2015.

Swart said the team was “fine” amid the upheaval.

“Basically the team coaches itself,” he said.

“It’s more in need of a man manager, which is what Ric was.

“No one’s disheartened in the team, there’s no ill feelings.

“Ric’s done a fantastic job for seven or eight years.

“I guess it was just time and we were headed in a different direction.”

Swart will assume the position of captain-coach as the club decides whether to find a new mentor or leave the Netherlands-capped batsman in the dual role.

The Times has contacted for Olsen for comment.

The team is facing a challenging second day in its clash with Melville after inclement weather restricted the Centurions to 232 last Saturday.

In a stroke of misfortune for Joondalup, it’s looking as though Melville will have ideal conditions to chase the total with a 35C day forecast.

Swart was impressed with his team’s effort to break the 230-run mark, saying it was a “massive” score given the weather, but he knew they needed a stellar bowling performance to defend the total at Tompkins Park.

“With the dry weather all week… you’d expect the pitch to be pretty flat,” he said.

“Melville when the sun’s out and it’s been fine weather can be a pretty good place to bat.”

Adding to the challenge, Joondalup will be without left-arm unorthodox bowler Clint Hinchliffe and wicketkeeper Josh Inglis, who have duties with the WA Second XI.