West Indies coach Phil Simmons has been sacked due to “differences in culture and strategic approach” the WICB has confirmed.
Simmons, who move into the role after last year’s World Cup following a spell with Ireland, was informed about the termination of his contract on Tuesday by WICB CEO Michael Muirhead shortly before the T20 squad was due to fly to the UAE and just six months after West Indies won the World T20.
Despite the sudden nature of the announcement, in a statement confirming the news shortly after it was revealed by ESPNcricinfo the WICB said the decision to drop Simmons was taken at the board of directors meeting last weekend. “Effectively immediately, the WICB today announced it has separated from the Head Coach Phil Simmons. In a meeting of the Board of Directors, on Saturday, September 10, this decision was taken.”
As for the reason behind the sacking the WICB statement did not go into specifics. “In recent times, based on the public pronouncements of the coach and the approach internally, we have identified differences in culture and strategic approach. The WICB would therefore like to thank the coach for his contribution and wishes him the best in his future endeavours.”
However, the lack of common ground between the parties had been clear for some time. Simmons’ journey as West Indies coach was never smooth once he made his thoughts public soon after not being allowed to pick what he felt was the best squad for the ODI series in Sri Lanka last year. Consequently the WICB suspended him briefly before allowing him back to his role once both parties resolved to sort out matters amicably.
In September last year when the issue of selection reared its head again Simmons said: “The disappointing fact is that you can lose 3-2 in a vote-off but there is too much interference from outside in the selection of the ODI squad and it’s disappointing for me to know that in any aspect of life … [people would use] their position to get people into a squad; or in this case, get people left out of a squad. It is wrong and I don’t like it and that is my beef with the selection of the ODI team.”
His reinstatement, the WICB said in a statement, was “conditioned upon” two criteria: “issuance to him of a letter of reprimand for his inappropriate public comments”, and his “making a public apology to the WICB and persons whom he may have offended”.
The recent Test series against India finished in a 2-0 defeat and under Simmons, West Indiesplayed 14 Tests which brought only one victory although that was enough to secure a shared series against England last year. They showed glimpses of promise against India but ultimately fell to two heavy defeats – three of the nine losses while Summons has been coach were by an innings, two more by nine wickets and two by more than 150 runs.
It has been suggested that former West Indies captain and current Kent coach Jimmy Adams is the replacement the WICB wants, but sources close to Adams told ESPNcricinfo he is not interested.
For the Pakistan series, the WICB said the team would be under the supervision of former West Indies fast bowler Joel Garner, who is the team manager. He will work alongside the pair of assistant coaches Henderson Springer and Roddy Estwick.