“Simmons not to blame” – says independent group member Justice Thompson

West Indies’ exit from the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia last year had little to do with coaching failures.

phil simmons on ireland coach
(Image courtesy: EMPICS sport)

That was stated by Justice Patrick Thompson Jr, chairman of the independent three-member group tasked with reviewing all matters related to the World Cup “disaster,” as he and Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt fielded questions from the media yesterday following the release of the executive summary of the review.

The three-member group also included West Indies batting legend Brian Lara and South African international cricket coach Mickey Arthur.

After the World Cup exit, West Indies head coach Phil Simmons resigned from the post and shortly after, skipper Nicholas Pooran also stepped down.

“Certainly, from memory I don’t recall very many references to any sort of coaching failures, if I can call it that way,” Thompson told the media.

“What does one expect a coach to do at the international level?” Thompson asked.

“They can only do so much and then the 11 take the field and then it is bat vs ball and the captain is, as it were, the coach on the field to make sure the plans are implemented. That is how I would put it at least,” he articulated.

He commended the players for not making the coach a scapegoat.

“The purpose of the review is to look at a sort of ‘black box’ analysis. It will be very unfair to pick at the coach and say well right, the coach was a bad coach; the batting coach was bad and this led to the failure.”

“We are talking about three matches of which we won one and lost two, so if you just jump at the coach and say the coaching was substandard or poor, I think you will be unfair to the coach,” Thompson explained.

image courtesy: getty images

“I think the players actually, on reflection, were disappointed with their performance and I have to give them credit for not seeking to scapegoat the coaching in any way or to even to point to any deficiencies. Now you’ve only seen the executive summary but of course we consulted with all of the coaches and we have the players’ feedback as well, which, no doubt you will see in summary when you see the full report. But from memory, there wasn’t much said about any inadequacies or specific deficiencies with the coaching that was provided to them,” he said.

Thompson felt that coaching in international sport ought to be more about motivation and tactics as opposed to technical skills.

“So, if you say if any other coach would have created the same result, it is hard to say what would have happened with someone else. But certainly, it wouldn’t be fair of us in the review to go after coaches or coaching as a sort of hatchet-man review, to say the coaching on any level was poor.”

The review committee consulted with the coaching staff and all 15 members of the T20 World Cup squad with the exception of Evin Lewis, Johnson Charles and Shimron Hetmyer.

The executive summary of the review released yesterday contained 34 recommendations.

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