Contrite Windies’ coach returned to the fold
Phil Simmons has officially eaten humble pie and has been reinstated as coach of the West Indies team by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Simmons, the former West Indies batsman and Ireland coach, had been suspended in September after a public outburst at Kensington Oval where he expressed his unhappiness with the ODI squad selected for the Sri Lanka tour.
Today in a statement, the WICB said Simmons’ reinstatement was conditioned upon two criteria: “issuance to him of a letter of reprimand for his inappropriate public comments”, and his “making a public apology to the WICB and persons whom he may have offended”.
The WICB said it would, however, also investigate the allegations made by Simmons, and take action as required against any parties found guilty.
During a media briefing Simmons had alleged outside interference in the selection of the ODI squad for the tour of Sri Lanka, saying he had not been given the best ODI squad.
Before the squad was officially announced by the WICB, he said that even though he and the captain Jason Holder wanted all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard in the team, they were left out. He said that Bravo and Pollard also had the backing of Clive Lloyd, the chairman of selectors, but he and Lloyd were outvoted 3-2 in the selection meeting.
Besides Lloyd, the other selectors on the panel are: Courtney Walsh, Courtney Browne and Eldine Baptiste –– the last of whom was asked to oversee the team temporarily after Simmons’ suspension.
Bravo and Pollard had not been considered for ODI selection since they were dropped for the series in South Africa in January this year, and their omission from the World Cup squad generated plenty of debate.
At the time Lloyd had said he had spoken to the two players and explained to them that the selection panel wanted to move on and give youngsters more chances.
West Indies have been struggling in Sri Lanka, losing all six of the internationals they have played on the tour so far, across the three formats. The final match of the tour, the second of two T20s, will be played in a few hours.
In his public apology today, Simmons said he regretted his public outburst as well as his revelation of the voting that took place to select the team.
“I extend a public apology to all whom I may have offended. I have personally apologized to my fellow selectors and the West Indies Cricket Board and I now do so publicly,” he said.
Simmons, whose tenure with Ireland saw them rise to be the strongest non-Test playing nation, said he was now looking forward to putting the suspension behind him and “doing the job I enjoy with the West Indies senior men’s team.”
Simmons said he would be looking to “continue heading towards the goal” that had been set for the West Indies team.
His next assignment following the tour of Sri Lanka will be the imminent assignment in Australia.