West Indies have taken the drastic step of suspending Phil Simmons with immediate effect following the head coach’s outburst over the squad selections for the one-day leg of the Sri Lanka tour.
Simmons, who took charge only this year, had called into question the continued omissions of the all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard. The former Ireland coach said he is not getting the “best 50-over ODI squad”, remarks that have not gone down well with the West Indies Cricket Board.
Simmons’ suspension throws the tour of Sri Lanka, which starts with the first Test on 14 October, into total disarray. Eldine Baptiste, a member of the WICB selection panel, will instead take charge for the two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20s.
A media release from the WICB read: “The West Indies Cricket Board has learnt of the comments from head coach of the West Indies team, Phil Simmons, in the print and electronic media which appear to question the legitimacy of the selection process of the one-day international squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.
“As a result the management of the WICB has taken action to suspend the head coach, pending an investigation into the issue. The head coach will not now travel with the team on the tour of Sri Lanka.”
Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs for the West Indies, was appointed head coach in March after a successful eight-year tenure with Ireland. He immediately made his mark after overseeing an impressive 1-1 Test series draw with England, but it is now unknown when, or even if, he will resume his role.
At the weekend the 52-year-old revealed he had the backing of the chairman of selectors, Clive Lloyd, over the re-instatement of Bravo and Pollard, who have been outcasts since being dropped for the series against South Africa in January.
However, according to Simmons, he and Lloyd were outvoted by the other selectors on the panel.
“I think it’s disappointing from the fact that I haven’t got the best 50-over ODI squad that we can select in the Caribbean,” Simmons said in quotes on ESPNCricinfo.
“The chairman, Mr Lloyd, he came and he gave an exceptional speech saying that he thinks it is time they are back in the squad and he gave exceptional reasons for them being back in the squad. Unfortunately, when we went into the selection [meeting] we lost it 3-2. Him and myself – the captain [Jason Holder] doesn’t have a vote in this – but the captain also gave his views as to why they need to be back.”