Free Press Journal

Windies coach Phil Simmons’ future to be decided within seven days


St. John’s (Antigua): Suspended head coach Phil Simmons will know his fate within the next week, after he meets with a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) human resource panel to discuss his controversial comments.

WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead said on Tuesday the 52-year-old Trinidadian has been called to answer “breaches of confidentiality and bringing West Indies Cricket Board into disrepute,” reports CMC. Simmons told media in Barbados last Friday the selection process regarding the one-day team had been influenced by “interference from outside” and as a result, the best side was not chosen for the three-match series against Sri Lanka starting next month.

“What has happened with Phil Simmons is most unfortunate. Rest assured, he has not been fired. Let us say he’s been called to answer breaches of confidentiality and bringing West Indies Cricket Board into disrepute,” Muirhead said. “He will be given a fair hearing by a panel and a decision will be made within the boundaries of our own internal human resources policy.” “During the process, he will continue to enjoy the benefits of his full remuneration. The matter will be dealt with in an expeditious manner and it is our intention to have a decision within the next seven working days.”

Simmons made his controversial comments following the conclusion of the week-long training camp at 3Ws Oval ground in Barbados last week, in preparation for the Test tour of Sri Lanka. Speaking in relation to the continued omission of Trinidadian all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the side, Simmons told journalists he and chairman of selectors, Clive Lloyd, had voted for the duo’s re-inclusion but the three remaining members of the selection panel had voted against.

“That’s not the disappointing fact, the disappointing fact is that you can lose 2-3 in a vote-off but there is too much interference from outside in the selection of the ODI squad and it’s disappointing for me to know that in any aspect of life…(people would use) their position to get people into a squad or in this case, get people left out of a squad,” an irate Simmons said. “It is wrong and I don’t like it and that is my beef with the selection of the ODI team.” His comments sent shockwaves through the Caribbean cricket fraternity, with the WICB moving swiftly to suspend him on Monday.

However, Simmons gained support in several quarters, including from Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, who labelled the claims as “disturbing” and said the selection panel needed to be “free of interference, fear, or favour.” Muirhead said the WICB would continue to manage its affairs in a highly professional manner, despite what appeared to be “another controversy” in West Indies cricket. “Let me first apologise to the public for what seems to be another controversy within the West Indies Cricket Board,” Muirhead said. “We are trying to manage the business of West Indies cricket in a particular and professional manner and whenever there is change taking place, things are bound to controversial at times,” he added. “Integrity and professionalism are high on our agenda and we will not compromise on that.”