West Indies legend, Viv Richards, has called for there to be more accountability across the board when it comes to the affairs of the regional team, including the performances of coaches.

The West Indies men’s team, which is coached by former player Phil Simmons, has been plagued by poor performances in recent months.  At the T20 World Cup the team, who entered the tournament as defending champions, were less than inspiring and crashed out after finishing 5th in Group 1 after winning just one match and losing four.

The performance was followed by lopsided defeats in Sri Lanka for the Test team and Pakistan.  The Women’s team, who appointed former fast bowler Courtney Walsh two years ago after a string of poor results, have in the meantime won two of their last three series.

  “We’ve got to start calling on the coaches a bit more in my opinion for performances, and to have a level at some point regarding performances, where you’d say that last year we were here at that level and where we want to be next year, so I am looking for stuff like that sort of improvement,” Richards recently told the Good Morning Jojo radio program.

 “I think I am looking for that sort of improvement, which I am not seeing at the moment,” he said.

At the same time, the former player, known as the Master Blaster in his prime, also believes that there was also the need for more transparency and equality as it relates to players' selection based on fitness standards.

“There are times we play to people’s affairs and not overall in terms of the team in itself because no one or two or three individuals make up a team in itself. It’s about the solidness, and everyone being on board, and just how you dish out the treatment, I think it needs to be a little fairer in my opinion. It gives everyone an opportunity and where the fitness is concerned, that seems to be lacking for years now,” he said.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons is expecting more energy and enthusiasm from a new-look squad as the team bowls off the year with series against Ireland and England.

The Caribbean team has endured a disappointing few months on the back of a disastrous showing at the T20 World Cup, followed by defeats in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

 A few of the team’s most experienced players have retired following a lackluster showing at the World Cup and the team did not select a few other regulars for the tour of Pakistan.  Despite a 3-0 T20 series loss in Pakistan, Simmons was encouraged by the team’s fervor.

“The way we started in Pakistan is the way we want to play now, have a lot more energy, more enthusiasm,” Simmons told members of the media earlier this week.

“It's a young group of guys and we are trying to mould them and get them into a winning frame of mind.  We want to win, and we want to do everything that it takes to win,” he added.

The team will see the likes of Brandon King and Odean Smith returning a potential debut for Justin Greaves and spinner Gudakesh Motie set to earn a second cap.

 

West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer has failed yet another fitness test, a situation that has left West Indies head coach Phil Simmons exasperated.

Hetmyer was left out of the team for the upcoming visits of Ireland and England after failing to pass fitness drills administered in his home country of Guyana recently.

The occasion is the third in the last three years that the athlete is failing to get a passing grade for the West Indies basic fitness requirement.  Hetmyer was first left out of the squad in 2020, ahead of the Sri Lanka tour, and then again later that year during the home visit of the same team.

Simmons expressed frustration that Hetmyer was not only letting down himself but failing to maintain the required standards but also the entire team.

 “It’s the same old, same old. He did his fitness assessment in Guyana and he came way below the required mark,” Simmons told members of the media during a conference call on Friday.

 “Again, it is something that is heart-wrenching because you know that you are part of this team, and you have to keep a certain fitness to be part of this team and you keep letting down your teammates.”

Simmons added the player was also “letting down himself.”

 

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says he’s looking for the young players to put their hands up during their white-ball tour of Pakistan starting December 13.

The West Indies will face Pakistan in three T20I and three ODIs during the tour that concludes on December 20 and Simmons is expecting members of the team to stand up and be counted.

“We’re looking to see who’s going to put their hand up to be a major player in this team. It’s about them putting up their hands and saying we want to go forward with this team. We want to do the things that are necessary to help this team win,” Simmons said.

Speaking in a press conference Friday after the team’s arrival in Pakistan, Simmons acknowledged that this is the team’s first white-ball assignment since the disastrous World Cup campaign and that it is time to move on from that.

“We know what happened in the World Cup and we’re not going to go back there. We’re looking to move forward and see who now wants to move forward with this team and our different ideas of how we want to play,” he said.

The former Ireland and Afghanistan coach also expressed that while many know what these players are capable of, it is time for them to show it in high-pressure situations.

“Yes, we have an idea of what they can deliver, but they’ve got to go out there and start showing us now that they can deliver under pressure. Playing against Pakistan in Pakistan is as much pressure as you can get,” said Simmons.

Simmons says he’s anticipating how the mental approach within the squad will change.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how things are going to change within this squad, not just from a cricketing point of view but also an attitude point of view,” Simmons said.

The West Indies coach also noted the threat of Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.

“He’s been brilliant for Pakistan and I’m sure he will continue to improve. Our batsmen will work on plans to of how to play him, how to score off him and we’ll see how their plans work out when the games come about,” said Simmons.

 

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says Sri Lanka’s resistance on the penultimate day of the second Test match in Galle will make it difficult for the West Indies to level the two-match series.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons and Captain Kraigg Brathwaite have both backed wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva to return to form during the upcoming two-Test series against Sri Lanka later this month.

When the West Indies began their training sessions in Colombo on Thursday in preparation for their two-Test series against Sri Lanka later this morning, there were several areas of immediate focus for the players.

Among them, combatting the home side’s dangerous spinners.

Head Coach Phil Simmons, in his first media session on Thursday, revealed that successfully playing Sri Lanka’s spinners was high on their list of priorities like it was in Bangladesh where the West Indies emerged 2-0 winners over the home side in February.

“I think there will be a heavy dose of spin coming from them because we saw it when they played England they even opened the bowling with a spinner, so we are going to be focusing a lot on how we combat that spin with the new ball and then bat as normal after that because we played spin alright in Bangladesh,” Simmons revealed.

“We did what we had to do to score the runs we needed and to win the games, so we need to bring that same sort of mentality we had on that away tour and preparation today started like that.”

Doing well against Sri Lanka’s spinners, Simmons explained, could prove to be crucial to time the West Indies batsmen spend at the crease, rotating the strike and not losing wickets playing rash shots out of frustration at being bogged down.

That also will be something he and his players will pay some attention to, Simmons revealed.

Rotating the strike will be “definitely an area of focus, especially when you’re playing against quality spinners,” he said, “you have to continually change their mode, especially if we have left and handers at the crease so it is something that we are going to be discussing and putting into practice.”

The West Indies will play a four-day warm-up match in Colombo starting on Sunday, November 14 because they take on Sri Lanka in the first of two Tests beginning on November 21 at the Galle International Cricket Stadium.

The second Test is set to begin on November 29 at the same venue.

  

 

 

 

West Indies head coach has admitted that the game and situational awareness of the team was not at its best against England on Saturday but said the team will continue to be aggressive in its approach when they take on South Africa on Tuesday.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has defended the decision to exclude Roston Chase from the team’s opening match in the ICC T20 World Cup against England on Saturday and insists that they did not misread the pitch before selecting the team.

In a rematch of the 2016 T20 World Cup final when the West Indies emerged victoriously, England bowled the defending champions out for 55 with Chris Gayle top-scoring with 13. England’s spinners took six of the 10 wickets to fall before their batters achieved the winning target in 8.2 overs.

The West Indies were unable to build partnerships and were missing the role of an anchor that Chase demonstrated while scoring an unbeaten 54 in the West Indies’ final warm-up match against Afghanistan. Playing anchor was something demonstrated he could do well during the 2021 Hero CPL season when he was the top scorer with 446 runs at an incredible average of 49.55.

When England batted, Akeal Hosein, the only spinner selected, was the best of the bowlers with 2-24.

Chase, a more than useful bowler, would have also given the West Indies another bowling option as a spinner in the match where spinners took eight of the 14 wickets to fall, the best of them being England’s Adil Rashid, who boasted ridiculous figures of four wickets for two runs from his four overs.

Still, Coach Simmons speaking with the media on Sunday, insisted that the team they selected was the right one for the conditions.

“I don’t think we misread the pitch. Yes, the spinners got some wickets but as you go along you have seen that the pitch was a good pitch,” he said during a media conference from Dubai on Sunday where the West Indies are preparing to face South Africa on Tuesday.

“You have to try and make the most of the first six or seven overs and then you have to fight until you get to the latter part. I think when you assess the pitch, you assess the squad we thought that the 11 that went into the game was the right squad.

“Yes, Chase got some runs in the game before but when were at the ground we assessed and we thought it was the right combination.”

 

 

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has revealed that Chris Gayle will be entrusted with specific roles for the West Indies once the ICC T20 World Cup begins later this month.

 Gayle, 42, was a controversial pick for the West Indies selectors with detractors citing his prolonged poor form and age as factors why he should not have been selected. However, Windies selector said Gayle’s experience and leadership were intrinsic factors that made him an asset for the Caribbean side looking to win their third T20 world title on the trot, having won in 2012 and 2016.

During a media session from the United Arab Emirates on Monday, Simmons indicated that more will be asked of the Universe Boss in his final World Cup campaign.

“We have specific roles we have put on Chris and we trust that he is going to be ready and in form and having had a short rest from the game and from the bubble he is going to come back fresh and ready to do what we ask him to do,” Simmons said of Gayle, who left the IPL bubble last month citing bubble fatigue and the need to refresh himself for the world cup.

"Over the last few months, I have been a part of the CWI bubble, CPL bubble followed by the IPL bubble, and I wish to mentally recharge and refresh myself," Gayle said in a statement last month. "I want to refocus on helping the West Indies in the T20 World Cup and would like to take a break in Dubai. My thanks to the Punjab Kings for giving me the time off. My wishes and hopes are with the squad always. All the very best for the games coming up."

Over the past weekend, Gayle posted pictures on Instagram of him enjoying his time off, refreshing himself before returning to action in the world cup.

Gayle had a lukewarm turnout for the Punjab Kings in the 2021 IPL. In 10 matches, the Jamaican star scored 193 runs at an average of 21.85 and strike rate of 125.32. His best score for the Kings was 46.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons says he is not concerned about the form of his vice-captain Nicholas Pooran as the team prepares to begin the defence of their ICC World T20 title later this month.

The West Indies, the only team to win the T20 title twice – in 2012 and 2016 – has seen their vice-captain struggle for form in the Indian Premier League where he batted in the middle order for the Punjab Kings with little success.

Coming off a fair campaign for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2021 Hero CPL where in 10 innings he scored 263 runs at an average of 32.88 and strike rate of 163.35, Pooran who turned 26 on October 2, has experienced a precipitous dip in form in the IPL.

In 11 innings for the Punjab Kings, Pooran has only managed to score 85 runs at an anaemic average and strike rate of 7.72 and 111.84, respectively, numbers that have even him concerned.

“Definitely not the IPL season I wanted but the opportunity to be tested both mentally and physically was a great experience, one to learn from very fast,” the Trinidadian posted on Instagram this past weekend.

However, Simmons expressed faith in the player’s ability to return to form in time for the world cup in the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies will open their campaign against England on October 23.

“I am not too worried about Nicholas. I think Nicholas has been batting well,” said the head coach during a media session from the UAE on Monday. “In the CPL, he played well, there was a lot of pressure on him there and there is going to be more pressure here but I think he has been working hard enough. He is doing all that he has to do and sometimes it doesn’t come off, but it will come off so I am not worried about him.”

Since the start of the CPL in August, Pooran has had one score of over 50 runs in T20 matches, and that was an unbeaten 75 against the Jamaica Tallawahs on September 10.

 

 

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has backed mercurial talent Shimron Hetmyer to eventually find his way back into the Test team after an extended absence.

Despite being considered one of the team’s brightest talents, and having appeared in all formats, Hetmyer has not suited up for the Test team since 2019, against Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old, who made his debut against India in 2016, has struggled for consistency, scoring five 50s in 15 matches with a high score of 93, but with several other innings where he has not delivered.  Despite obvious potential, his overall average of 28 falls on the mediocre side.

In addition, the athlete has also had his share fair of fitness issues over the past two years, twice failing fitness standards after being included in touring squads.  Simmons has, however, backed the batsman to eventually get things right.

“I think that Hetmyer can be a world-class Test player when that time comes,” Simmons told members of the media.

“I’m sure at some point he’s going to return to the Test squad.  I’m sure the experience he’s gotten from being there before will serve him well and that he will make use of it.  I think he is maturing as we go along.  He’s had a few incidents he’s not proud of, but he’s maturing and I’m sure he will get back into the Test squad at some point in time and show what he’s made of.”

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes it may be too early to assess the full impact of a crushing defeat at the hands of South Africa in the recently concluded Test series.

Things looked to be on the up for the regional squad following solid performances away to Bangladesh and at home to Sri Lanka, which had even led to the team moving up the Test team rankings table.

However, the West Indies could hardly find a foothold in the series against the visiting South Africans.  They failed to reach the 200 runs in any innings of the two Test matches and were bowled out for 97 in the first innings of the Test match.

The coach will be hoping the performance is more of an aberration than an erosion of the progress made in recent months.

“It has been a setback.  You don’t know how big a setback until we do our remedying and come up against Pakistan,” Simmons told members of the media.

“At the same time, we keep making sure that sometimes you have two steps forward and one step back in progress.  So, it is a little setback we will know how big a setback with the Pakistan series.”

The West Indies will play against a visiting Pakistan in a two-Test series in August.

 

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has insisted the team’s lack of productive opening partnerships continues to be a major concern.

While poor all-around batting display was the order of the day in a lopsided loss against South Africa in the first Test, the West Indies, as has become customary, had another slow start at the top of the innings.

The opening pair of captain Kraigg Brathwaite and recently recalled Shai Hope only managed to put 30 on the board in the first innings, with Brathwaite then partnering with another recalled batsman, Kieran Powell, to combine for 21 in the second innings.

Prior to this series, however, Brathwaite and opening partner John Campbell has had an average stuck at around the 22 mark for the last several series played.  Campbell has been ruled out of the current series with an injury.

On the back of the lopsided defeat to South Africa, Simmons insists it is an area the team is desperate to fix.

“It’s one of the things we have been desperately trying to work on because if you look back, a lot of times when we win Test matches against top teams, we have good opening stands,” Simmons recently told members of the media.

“It’s disappointing because when you look at the last 7 Test 100s scored by an opener, I think they were all scored by Kraigg.  So, it’s disappointing for us and we are trying to work very hard on that,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

The West Indies Men’s squad has returned to full training in two groups at their preparation camp in St. Lucia after all members of the squad returned negative PCR tests, following the latest round of testing that was conducted on Thursday.

They had team sessions on Friday as well as Saturday morning and afternoon and Head Coach, Phil Simmons is happy to be able to now finetune his squad’s preparation in the build-up to the two-match Test series against South Africa. These matches will be played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground for the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy on June 10-14 and June 18-22 and are the final matches in the current cycle of the ICC World Test Championship. The Proteas are due to arrive on the island on Tuesday, June 1.

The West Indies players will be involved in a “Best v Best” four-day match, at the same venue beginning on Monday, May 31, and the Head Coach sees this as a great opportunity for all involved.

“I am happy that we are back to full training. We are happy with the preparations up to this point and everyone is fully aware of what is required,” Simmons said. “Yes, we had four good Test matches (vs Bangladesh and Sri Lanka), but at the same time, people need to know that their position is not guaranteed unless they continue to play well. Guys who are out, need to show that they want to get back in by doing well in these games. So, it is a benefit to every one of us.”

Simmons also praised the facilities provided in St. Lucia throughout the camp at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, which is overseen by CWI Head Groundsman, Kent Crafton. The West Indies Men are gearing up to begin a busy summer schedule, which includes visits from South Africa, Australia and Pakistan before the Caribbean Premier League begins in late August.

The players and staff were previously forced to train in small groups, as a result of the positive COVID-19 and isolation of fast bowler Marquino Mindley on Friday, May 22.

Mindley, who has already returned one negative PCR test on Thursday, remains asymptomatic and in isolation at the team hotel. The CWI medical team continues to monitor his progress, as he requires one more negative PCR test before being allowed to re-join the squad.

The full squad comprises Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Keron Cottoy, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Jahmar Hamilton, Kavem Hodge, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Paul Palmer Jr., Veerasammy Permaul, Anderson Phillip, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales, Nial Smith, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr. and Jomel Warrican

 

 

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