PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC-Top cricket commentator Fazeer Mohammed says the sacking of head coach Phil Simmons represents another chapter in the ongoing soap opera of conflict in West Indies cricket.
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced the termination of Simmons’ contract Tuesday afternoon hours before the players were due to board a flight bound for the United Arab Emirates for a series against Pakistan in all three formats of the game.
In an exclusive interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) late Tuesday Mohammed says Simmons was fired for exposing conflict within the WICB.
“That merely concretizes what we have known already, the fact that Simmons was suspended plus he made public details of conflict between himself as coach and one of the selectors and those outside influences which we could only assume could be somewhere within the hierarchy of West Indies cricket,” said Mohammed, who does commentary on regional and international matches.
“Whether we are talking about board of directors or the man at the helm himself or whether we are talking about the director of cricket. All of these names would come into the mix but it is an open secret that he has been at odds with them.”
Simmons, a former West Indies all-rounder, has had a tumultuous tenure with the Dave Cameron led WICB since his appointment 18 months ago.
He was suspended six months into his contract for controversial comments about team selection and reinstalled after agreeing to issue a public apology and receive a letter of reprimand.
The former coach of Ireland had questioned the omissions of all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the one-day squad last year, forcing the WICB to issue a release which said Simmons’ comments appeared to “question the legitimacy of the selection process”.
“He together with the then chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd would have been outvoted by other selectors at the time … Courtney Walsh, Courtney Browne and Eldine Bapiste over the selection of some of those previously disenfranchised players,” said the Trinidadian commentator. “This is merely a continuation of that and with all the talk about the meeting and the conciliatory meeting in the United States a couple weeks ago this cast an entirely different picture on the situation and once again they are more questions than answers at the start of a West Indies tour”.
Simmons’ departure continues an expulsion of the coaching staff that helped the West Indies recapture the T20 World Cup earlier this year.
Both double World T20 captain Darren Sammy and bowling consultant Curtly Ambrose were eased out of their jobs earlier this year. West Indies’ next assignment is in 10 days, when they face Pakistan in three T20s, three ODIs, and three Tests – including a day-night Test in Dubai.
“I doubt it will have much impact on the team for the T20 format of the game because they are very experience players. They would have experience so much of this over the better part of a decade,” Mohammed added.
“But the test team would have struggled anyway and the fact of the matter is they are taking on a team that’s now ranked number one in test cricket and for some of these players they would have experience this also”.