“We have seen other teams split the coaching role between white-ball and red-ball teams and we have to look at all options and make the best possible decisions”- CWI CEO Johnny Grave

Last Saturday CWI announced that West Indies head coach Phil Simmons will resign from his position after the upcoming tour of Australia.

The main reason for that was the West Indies team’s elimination from the first round of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup held in Australia, as well as the failure of the West Indies team to perform well in the last few tournaments.

In this regard, Simmons said that the West Indies fans had to watch the Twenty20 World Cup this year without the West Indies and apologized profusely to the fans and followers for that.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave, in contact with Sportsmax on Monday, confirmed that the CWI has accepted Simmons’ resignation and that Simmons’ final assignment will be the two-match Test series in Australia that ends on December 12.

Grave stated that director Jimmy Adams spoke to Simmons as well as Test captain Craig Brathwaite to see if Simmons still had the desire, appetite, and strength to lead the team in the Test series after the T20 World Cup defeat. Accordingly, Kraigg Brathwaite has given his support behind coach Phil Simmons in the two-Test series to be held against Australia.

“Director of cricket Jimmy Adams spoke to Phil about his motivation, energy, and appetite to go and do that final assignment and Jimmy also spoke to our Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who gave his endorsement of Phil staying on and I believe that will give the team the best possible chances of success in Australia,”

“It has been a very difficult week I think for West Indian cricket fans. He (Simmons) spoke to the president (Ricky Skerritt) I believe Saturday morning and sent me a formal resignation letter on Saturday afternoon. He was hurting and was extremely emotional in terms of his sheer disappointment of what had transpired.”

The West Indies Test team is in a very good position, having won both the completed series against mighty England and Bangladesh. But opener John Campbell is currently serving a four-year ban, there will be a change in the opening pair. Commenting on the challenge against Australia, Grave said,

“I think there will be a lot of soul-searching in the next two weeks. The focus now can be on the Test series. We are coming off Test series victories over England and Bangladesh so hopefully, the change in format and the short break of two weeks will give everyone time to reflect and refresh and go forward with the challenge which is probably the hardest Test match challenge you can get in a Test series against Australia in their own backyard.”

Asked whether any thought had been given to Simmons’ replacement, Grave said CWI would be sensible and strategic in our review and approach and try and keep, difficult as it is, the emotions out of it. CEO Johnny Grave stated that the search for a new coach is currently being reviewed. However, he further stated that he has no idea what the final result will be.

“I think we were always going to conduct a review, and the outcome of that review would be followed and implemented. Obviously, Phil did resign very quickly in the aftermath. I don’t know what the outcome would have been of the review or what decisions would have been made. All I know is that Phil has resigned and it has been accepted.”

However, he noted that Simmons’ contract was due to come to an end in March, and “he always knew that it was going to be dependent on results”. “We’re in the results business,”

“We have options. We have seen other teams split the coaching role between white-ball and red-ball teams and I think we have to look at all options and make the best possible decisions.”

He spoke about West Indies’ defeat against Scotland and Ireland in the first round of the Twenty20 World Cup and said that he would conduct a review of the World Cup and plan the way forward properly.

“I think what we’ve tried to do is to be sensible and strategic in our approach and try to keep emotions out of it, as difficult as that may be because everyone is hurting from the bitter disappointment of those two defeats (against Scotland and Ireland). I think that we will conduct a review of that World Cup and use the period to properly plan and strategize the way forward and look at all the options that are available to us.”

The CEO also explained about the ODI World Cup next year and the qualification of the West Indies team.

“We have another World Cup this time next year, we hope. We may or may not automatically qualify for that. But, conceivably, we could find ourselves in the qualification zone and therefore having to go in mid-June for the World Cup qualifiers which we had to do in 2019 for the last 50-over World Cup.”

“It is important we conduct a thorough review of the World Cup, the preparations and the performances of that most recent disappointment, and think very hard about what we need to take the team forward.”

Grave concluded by talking about upcoming ICC events.

“There is a lot of cricket to be played in the World Test Championship and across multiple ICC events where we’re going to have a men’s event every year in the white-ball format, including a home World Cup in T20 cricket in June of 2024, and we will need to make some very good decisions about how we prepare and plan for that because everyone will expect us to, and we need to do significantly better.”

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