West Indies continue to flatter and deceive
Phil Simmons is not pleased with West Indies’ overall performance during the just concluded series against India.
And no one is impressed with the fiasco that has taken place at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago over the past four days of the fourth Test match.
Speaking to the media today after the fourth Test was called off after just 22 overs on the first day were possible, West Indies coach Simmons lamented his team’s continued inconsistent performances. He also noted that he was not getting some of the things he had requested to encourage improvement in the regional team.
“I think the series was a little bit too up and down. We played well across two-three hours sometimes, and the next two hours we were down. I think that, for me, was the major disappointment. We showed that we can do things but not consistently enough. We batted well in Jamaica, but we went and did the same things in the first and third Test. For that, it’s disappointing that we weren’t consistent enough,” he said.
Simmons suggested that Test players were not making the necessary adjustments to their game from the regional level to the highest level.
“I think in some cases you have to adjust techniques. It’s something that we should be doing at a level below. The same thing with mentality because when we come up here it’s a lot harder to get runs and wickets. I think at our domestic level, it’s a lot easier, that patience and time at the crease, if we bat two sessions in a domestic game most of the guys playing here would have a hundred or more. But if you bat two sessions here, it might be 60 or 70. The patience at the domestic level is not tested as much as up here,” he suggested.
Simmons added: “There’s a lot of things that I have asked for, that’s not come to fruition. I’ve asked for coaches to meet two, maybe three, times a year to discuss cricket. We need to make sure that whatever we do upstairs is going down to everybody. You and me might be two coaches and might coach differently, but we have to have the same objective. If we don’t have the same objective, we spin it up in muddles. I think that’s lacking. There’s quite a few things that need to be fixed, but at the end of the day the quality of cricket downstairs is not good enough for the maturity of the players.”
The former Test player said not only did coaches need to work closer together and understand what was required at the highest level, but there was a need for improvement in facilities.
“Things like our pitches and practice facilities need to be better, a lot better. In order to produce players, not just fast bowlers as we’re lacking now, but batsmen, because the better the pitches the better the batsmen show themselves. Little things like that we need to put in place.
“The gap between that and our cricket needs to be filled, whether it can be done with an academy, which we don’t have right now, A-team cricket, which we have one a year…we should have two or three a year. Something needs to be done to fill that gap. We’re missing a few things,” he said.
Simmons stated he was surprised there had been no cricket at the Queen’s Park Oval for the past four days.
“As far as I know, in my years, Trinidad has never been a ground like that. I don’t know what is the position on the other side, but it was really bad and after two days of sun and when I saw it yesterday morning, I couldn’t believe how bad it was. I don’t know what the position is there and what caused that, but I’m surprised and never expected that here,” he said.
However, the international media was not so kind with the Trinidadian authorities. Questions were raised as to why a Test match was scheduled in August for the first time despite it being part of the country’s rainy season. The absence of a super sopper at one of the region’s main grounds was ridiculed as well as the ground staff’s efforts at covering the playing area on the first day that left the bowlers’ run-up exposed to showers.
Simmons also commented on the continued below-par performances of Darren Bravo, once considered one of the world’s young batting talents along with the likes of India’s Virat Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith, England’s Joe Root and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson. Simmons suggested Bravo had been left behind because he lacked a senior mentor as the others had.
“We talk about Darren Bravo, and we talk about him a lot because we see his potential and where he’s supposed to be right now. But you look back at things and all the people around his age and how they’ve come through. The help that they’ve had in the team when they came in. We talk about Virat…when Virat came in, look at the players around him. That’s where you get that little bit of experience, that little bit of help from. Bravo’s had to turn up and be the senior player and I think sometimes, that affects people. No doubt about it, he’s working extremely hard on trying to get his game together and trying to score runs, which he did when he just came into the team,” he said.