Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, was given a breather from the onerous task of fronting up to difficult questions after yet another game ended without West Indian success on Monday (August 22). In this case, he would have been blameless, with only 22 overs of play possible in five days at the Queen’s Park Oval. Phil Simmons, the West Indies coach, was forthright when asked about the issues in front of his team.
On West Indies’ performance in the series
I think the series was a little bit too up and down. We played well across two and three hours sometimes, and the next two hours we will be down. I think that, for me, was the major disappointment. We showed that we can do things but not consistently enough. We batted well in Jamaica, but we went and did the same things in the first and third Tests. For that, it’s disappointing that we weren’t consistent enough.
On the scheduling and whether that has driven more spectators away from the game
I don’t think that’s anything to do with the players. I think that’s got to do with where we are. We are playing India, so you should expect more spectators at the ground. I think that’s above my pay grade, because I think that’s a lot to do with how we market our product and everything like that, that’s how we get spectators in.
On whether he was surprised by the fact that there was no play despite bright sunshine for most of the Test
Extremely surprised. As far as I know, in my years, Trinidad has never been a ground like that. I don’t know what is the position on the other side, but it was really bad and after two days of sun and when I saw it yesterday morning, and I couldn’t believe how bad it was. I don’t know what the position is there and what caused that, but I’m surprised and never expected that here.
On what is causing the inconsistency in the team
I think in some cases you have to adjust techniques. It’s something that we should be doing at a level below. The same thing with mentality, because when we come up here it’s a lot harder to get runs and wickets. I think at our domestic level it’s a lot easier, that patience and time at the crease, if we bat two sessions in a domestic game most of the guys playing here would have a hundred or more. But if you bat two sessions here, it might be 60 or 70. The patience at the domestic level is not tested as much up here.
On whether there is need for more co-ordination between the West Indies head coach and coaches of domestic teams
There’s a lot of things that I have asked for, it’s not come to fruition. I’ve asked for coaches to meet two, maybe three, times a year to discuss cricket. We need to make sure that whatever we do upstairs is going down to everybody. You and me might be two coaches and might coach differently but the same objective we have to have. If we don’t have the same objective, we spin it up in muddles. I think that’s lacking. It’s quite a few things that need to be fixed, but at the end of the day the quality of cricket downstairs is not good enough for the maturity of the players.
On the measures needed to improve domestic cricketers
We need to be closer as coaches and understand what we try and produce for the top level. Things like our pitches and practice facilities need to be better. A lot better. In order to produce players, not just fast bowlers as we’re lacking now, but batsmen, because the better the pitches the better the batsmen show themselves. Little things like that we need to put in place. The gap between that and our cricket needs to be filled, whether it can be done with an academy, which we don’t have right now, A-team cricket, which we have one a year, we should have two three a year. Something needs to be done to fill that gap. We’re missing a few things.
On where Marlon Samuels stands with younger players coming good
His career still stands there. They (Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich) are pushing him which is nice because before when you have people pushing you from outside, you either get pushed out or you lift your game. So, I think it’s a case where you have youngsters pushing him now, and it’s good for the team. Same thing with Shannon (Gabriel) and a few young fast bowlers coming out, Jason… everybody. You need that second team that’s upto the standard to push people so that they continue to produce. The great West Indies team had that, the great Australia team had that, so that’s what we need here.
On Darren Bravo’s performance
We talk about Darren Bravo, and we talk about him a lot because we see his potential and where he’s supposed to be right now. But you look back at things and all the people around his age and how they’ve come through. The help that they’ve had in the team when they came in. We talk about Virat (Kohli), when Virat came in look at the players around him that’s where you get that little bit of experience, little bit of help from. Bravo’s had to turn up and be the senior player and I think sometimes, that affects people. No doubt about it, he’s working extremely hard on trying to get his game together and trying to score runs, which he did in when he just came into the team.
On whether 2-0 was a fair reflection of how the teams stacked up
Interesting question. I would say yes. I think that we should have been 1-0, I don’t think we should have lost the game in St Lucia. For me, it should have been 1-0. At the beginning of the series when you look at the experience of the two teams, you would’ve taken it.