Thirty-five days and counting off the job for Simmons
ST JOHN’S, Antigua –– Phil Simmons still remains on the outside of the West Indies cricket team’s management set-up.
Contrary to reports that Simmons was about to resume his position as coach of the West Indies, chief executive officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Michael Muirhead made it clear today that Simmons had not been reinstated.
Simmons was suspended by the WICB on September 28 after he publicly expressed his frustration for not getting the best ODI squad for the ongoing Sri Lanka tour.
The popular former Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies player was in London preparing to join the squad en route to Sri Lanka, but instead received an email from Muirhead informing him of the suspension.
Reports indicate that Simmons recently met with the WICB’s human resource committee and was warned against making future similar outbursts. He was reportedly told that a recurrence of such behaviour would not be tolerated. Simmons has already publicly apologized for his outburst which was made to reporters at Kensington Oval at the conclusion of a training camp. Though he has been left out of the team to Sri Lanka, Simmons is tipped to resume his coaching responsibilities for the tour to Australia in early December.
“There has been no formal reinstatement. We agreed to certain conditions in principle about how to go forward,” Muirhead told ESPNcricinfo from Antigua.
Muirhead confirmed that he had a meeting with Simmons and his attorney on October 21, a meeting reportedly conducted via Skype. He revealed that following the meeting Simmons was supposed to respond in writing, giving his consent to the terms set but added that response was only received this weekend.
“They did not respond to me for quite a number of days. I just received their response over the weekend,” Muirhead said.
The WICB will “indicate” its response tomorrow as the board’s offices were closed today on account of a public holiday in Antigua.
The impasse has continued to drag despite an earlier promise from the WICB of a swift resolution. Two days after Simmons’ suspension, Muirhead had indicated that the issue would be resolved within seven days of Simmons’ appearance in front of the WICB human resources panel for a disciplinary hearing.
Muirhead said there was no real stumbling block that was stopping both parties from reaching a resolution. He said he was positive about a “fruitful” outcome.
“It is about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. What we are doing is making sure that all protocols and everything is agreeable to both sides in terms of language and the steps that we will take going forward.”
Although the WICB appointed Eldine Baptiste, a former West Indies fast bowler and a current selector, coach for the Sri Lanka tour, the players have continued to praise Simmons’ impact.
West Indies’ fledgling captain Jason Holder said as much upon landing in Sri Lanka calling Simmons a “wonderful inspiration” during his brief tenure as coach.
Simmons was appointed West Indies coach immediately after the 2015 World Cup. Simmons, a former West Indies opener, made an immediate impact. During his stint, West Indies drew the Test series against England in April and put up a spirited fight against Australia in June even though they lost the series 2-0. Under Baptiste’s watch in Sri Lanka, West Indies lost the Test series 2-0 and the first ODI on Sunday night.