West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons lambasted the standard of play currently being seen in the WICB Professional Cricket League saying that it does nothing to prepare young cricketers for life on the international circuit.
Simmons was speaking to reporters on Tuesday at Kensington Oval after the West Indies training session there. He noted that the type of loose shots being played and the bad balls being bowled by the West Indies players were prevalent in the Four Day tournament. While the players would be able to get away with that type of play in the regional tournament, they couldn’t on the international scene.
“You watch the scores, for instance if Bishoo had bowled those 50 odd overs in a four-day game he would have had 20 wickets. So that is one of the things that we need to address, “I think the biggest thing for the young players because of the level of our first class cricket, when they come up here is to understand the situation and how I have to play in this situation is determined by what the team needs and the scoreboard. These are things that you have to keep trying to teach them before it sinks in,” said Simmons.
Simmons pointed out that many of the young players were now starting to learn about Test cricket, which is a major step up from the type of first-class cricket that is currently being played in the West Indies.
“They are enthusiastic, they want to learn and then you have the four experienced guys who need to make their presence felt in this Test match coming up. I this is the start of where we need to go,” said Simmons.
The coach admitted that he thought that the West Indies batsmen all got out recklessly on the final day of the second Test match in Antigua. He thought that the situation at the time called for the West Indies to bat for a longer period of time in order to put the game out of England’s hands. Simmons noted that ideally he would love to see much faster pitches being prepared in the Caribbean saying that ‘who can bat will bat and who can bowl will get wickets.’
“The pitch in Antigua got better as it went on. I think that if we had bowled better in the second session of the first day we would have had a better chance of winning the game. We didn’t and it went away,” said Simmons. The coach settled fans’ fears on the extent of Jason Holder’s injury when he said that it wasn’t too bad as first feared. Simmons noted that Holder has recovered well and they will see how he fares after bowling in the nets today and tomorrow.