Two-time World Twenty20 champions the Caribbean failed to progress beyond the qualifying stages of the concluded World Twenty20 World Cup. Phil Simmons then decided to step down as the team’s head coach.
Simmons, the head coach of the West Indies senior men’s team, has announced that he will resign from his position after the two-match Test series against Australia.
Accordingly, Phil Simmons enters his final assignment as West Indies coach. He is believed to have given his best in his role and hopes that the foundations will be laid for the revival of their Test cricket.
The visitors’ 164-run defeat in Perth was their first defeat in six games this year, but Simmons’ second spell as coach, which began in October 2019, has had other notable wins. 2-0 away wins over Jamaica and Bangladesh, where they chased down 395 to win the opening Test and won the second match by 17 runs.
Simmons, before his farewell Test, said,
“My big hope for West Indies cricket is that we get things in order at home [and] we put things in place so every team can start improving and moving up the ladder in world cricket.”
“I think the Test team has shown the way so far. The last few years we haven’t had good success in white ball cricket, but the talent is always there and what we do on the ground to harness that talent and move that talent forward, is what is going to get us back to where we ‘re supposed to be.”
Simmons saw the potential for Test cricket to become a high-profile game, and noted England’s extraordinary approach in Rawalpindi this week, but stressed the importance of each side playing their style.
“In the next few years, the game is just going to keep going faster and faster. We saw a Test match in Pakistan [against England] the other day and it’s just unbelievable [how fast England scored].”
“The game is going to keep getting like that. ODI cricket brought speed to Test cricket and now T20 cricket is bringing speed to both forms, so we’ll see how fast it gets in the next couple years.”
West Indies have enjoyed one of their better years in the longest format this year, beating England 1-0 in the three-match series in the Caribbean and brushing aside visiting Bangladesh 2-0 to remain unbeaten in five matches.
And Simmons has stated that the West Indies team has shown new energy under the new captain Kraig Brathwaite.
“I think the grit and the determination that the guys have been showing for this year [has been great].”
“We’ve lost one Test match in the year [prior to the current tour] and it’s shown in the way we’ve played, especially in the series against England where we had to fight for a few games and then came out on top in the last game.”
“[It showed] that some progress has been made and to me the joy has been seeing people improve. You had Jermaine (Blackwood) who is going into his 50th Test, and he was out a while and he’s on his way back. We see the difference in him and little things like that brings joy to me.”
Commenting further, he said,
I’m confident with the guys who are here. When they came here, they started to understand how difficult it is and you can see the adjustment.
“The captain (Brathwaite) keeps setting the standard and with Tage (Tagenarine Chanderpaul) next to him now, that example is going to be set so everybody else can follow it.”
“It augurs well for our batting line-up because there’s a lot more grit and determination.”
“The last two or three years the bowling has done their work and put us in place, now the batting is coming so sooner or later, all will come together.”
The Trinidadian, who also had a successful career as Ireland’s head coach, said he always gave his best in the role but ruled out a future third game with the West Indies.
“[I feel] good. From a point of view that I know that every time I come out and every time I am part of West Indies, I give everything that I can give.”
“From that point of view, I’m good and I’ll give all for the next six days … and let’s hope we can come out with a win so I finish on a high.”
“I think you can rule out that third stint. I think that’s enough for me. I would like a lot more time home with my family so I think the international stint can be ruled out for now.”
“I am not retired yet … I’m going to continue doing coaching, continue doing whatever comes up that I feel is a challenge for me.”
He will continue as a coach and will be the head coach of the Dubai Capitals at the inaugural ILT20 next month. However, on the prospect of returning to the West Indies, he said.