West Indies coach Phil Simmons has opened the door for Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard to return to the Test team, stating his intention to meet them on their return from the IPL.
Bravo and Lendl Simmons had announced their Test retirements, while Pollard took an “indefinite break” from first-class cricket earlier this year. Russell indicated he was not physically capable of playing the long form and Narine has been sidelined due to questions about his bowling action.
However Phil Simmons, who was appointed coach in March and had a sturdy result in the home series against England, is eager to see if he can encourage a better relationship between the West Indies team and the region’s IPL participants.
Before his departure for the IPL, Bravo had suggested he would like to return to the Test team.
“Obviously everybody wants to see those guys playing Test cricket for the West Indies because they are certainly good enough to play that format,” Phil Simmons told Trinidad’s Newsday.
“I’m not aware of Bravo’s statement, but I haven’t spoken to any of them since I became coach. I hope to sit down with them and discuss my, and the selectors, vision for how we want West Indies to play Test cricket going forward and how they possibly fit into that.
“I can’t rule anybody in or out of consideration until I do so.”
It remains to be seen whether these discussions can take place quickly enough to allow any of the quintet to be part of the team to face Australia in two Test matches next month.
Phil Simmons felt that the WICB should look to the likes of New Zealand for an example of forming a better relationship between IPL-contracted players and the West Indies team. New Zealand have accepted that the financial rewards on offer to IPL players, relative to their international income, requires a degree of flexibility to allow them to take part in both.
Phil Simmons said he had also discussed the future with Shivnarine Chanderpaul ahead of the Australia series, though he did not divulge their plans.