Michael Muirhead, the CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), has clarified that – contrary to media reports – Phil Simmons has not yet been reinstated as the head coach of the national side. Simmons was suspended by the WICB on September 28 after he publicly expressed his frustration for not getting the best ODI squad for the Sri Lanka tour. Simmons was in London preparing to join the squad en route to Sri Lanka, but instead received an email from Muirhead informing him of the suspension.
“There has been no formal reinstatement,” Muirhead told ESPNcricinfo from Antigua. Muirhead confirmed that he had a meeting with Simmons and his attorney on October 21. “We agreed to certain conditions in principle about how to go forward.” The meeting Muirhead refers to is understood to have taken place on Skype.
Simmons, Muirhead pointed out, was supposed to respond in writing, giving his consent to the terms set. “They did not respond to me for quite a number of days. I just received their response over the weekend,” Muirhead said. The WICB will “indicate” its response on Tuesday as the board’s offices were closed on Monday on account of a public holiday in Antigua. No reaction could be sought from Simmons, who was unavailable for a comment.
Incidentally, two days after Simmons’ suspension, Muirhead had indicated that the issue would be resolved within seven days of Simmons’ appearance in front of the WICB human resources panel for a disciplinary hearing. The issue, however, has continued to drag.
Muirhead said there is no real stumbling block that was stopping both parties from reaching a resolution. He said he was positive about a “fruitful” outcome: “It is about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. What we are doing is making sure that all protocols and everything is agreeable to both sides in terms of language and the steps that we will take going forward.”
Although the WICB appointed Eldine Baptiste, a former West Indies fast bowler and a current selector, coach for the Sri Lanka tour, the players have continued to praise Simmons’ impact. West Indies captain Jason Holder said as much upon landing in Sri Lanka calling Simmons a “wonderful inspiration” during his brief tenure as coach.
Simmons was appointed West Indies coach immediately after the 2015 World Cup. Simmons, a former West Indies opener, made an immediate impact. During his stint, West Indies drew the Test series against England in April and put up a spirited fight against Australia in Juen even though they lost the series 2-0. Under Baptiste’s watch in Sri Lanka, West Indies lost the Test series 2-0 and the first ODI on Sunday night.