Simmons back as West Indies head coach

West Indies cricket team Phil Simmons, laughs during a fielding practice at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
West Indies head Coach, Phil Simmons.

Three years after being sacked, Trinidadian Phil Simmons is back again as West Indies head coach.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) on Monday announced the reappointment of Simmons, 56, for a four–year term.

He edged out challengers from legendary West Indies opener Desmond Haynes and incumbent Floyd Reifer, who was shortlisted for the post left vacant after Australia Stuart Law departed last November.

Simmons led the West Indies for 18 months before being fired in September 2016 just five months after overseeing the regional team capture the Twenty20 World Cup in India, for what the CWI administration labeled “differences in culture and strategic approach.”

Simmons had coaching stints in Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan, and served as West Indies coach from 2015-2016.

He was one of 34 applying for the job which for the first time excluded any foreign applicants, as CWI announced its intention to recruit someone from the Caribbean.

The list was then narrowed down to six last month with the final three-man shortlist undergoing interviews last week in Antigua.

Simmons’ appointment also comes seven months following a legal pay settlement from CWI after he successfully contested his sacking under the former CWI president Dave Cameron.

At the time new CWI president Ricky Skerritt, also issued an apology to Simmons, pointing out he had been “the best candidate” when he had been first chosen as West Indies head coach just following the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“Bringing Phil Simmons back is not just righting a past wrong, but the right man for the job at the right time.” Skerrit said.

Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs made his name in Ireland with whom he spent eight years, during the time capturing 11 trophies and qualifying for every ICC tournament.

Following his West Indies stint, he took over Afghanistan in December 2017, guiding them to the World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe which saw them make their debut at the ICC World Cup in England earlier this year.

After stepping down following the tournament, he joined Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and took them from the bottom of the table to the finals last weekend which saw them to their second title.

Simmons will also serve as one of three selectors, with former West Indies off-spinner Roger Harper along with Miles Bascombe — who played a single T2o International eight years ago- announced as the men’s selection panel.

Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, hailed the “robust recruitment process” and said he expected Simmons to be the catalyst the team required across all formats.

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