Sunday 9 August, 2020

CWI says Phil Simmons’ job safe despite calls for sacking

West Indies coach Phil Simmons.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt says Phil Simmons' job as head coach is safe despite demands from one CWI board member, Conde Riley, for him to be sacked.

Riley, also the president of the Barbados Cricket Association, said Simmons had "endangered the lives" of the entire West Indies touring party by temporarily leaving the bio-secure 'bubble' in Manchester to attend his father-in-law's funeral.

However, Skerritt made it clear that Simmons' role as head coach remains "not in any way threatened." 

"I want to assure West Indies cricket fans that Phil Simmons still has the full backing of CWI, no matter what has been said," Skerritt said. "When all is said and done, Phil's job is not in any way threatened. He went through a very vigorous recruitment process nine months ago and was the best man we could have found for the job. He’s still the best man.”

CWI had issued a statement saying that Simmons had asked for permission to attend the funeral.

"The entire process of his exit and re-entry to the bio-secure location was approved and managed by the medical teams of the CWI and the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) and strictly followed protocols set up prior to the tour which addressed such scenarios," the statement said.

"Following his return, Simmons has been in self-isolation away from other members of the squad, exactly as had always been planned. He has so far undergone two Covid-19 tests since Friday - both of which came back negative. He will have another test on Wednesday before he will re-join the squad as they prepare for the three-match #RaiseTheBat Series against England."

On Thursday, CWI stated that Simmons "returned to the field with his players after his mandatory quarantine and COVID 19 tests. He was part of the warm-up and pre-match preparations as West Indies continued their four-day warm-up match at Emirates Old Trafford."

"There was no question of me not going to the funeral," Simmons said. "It is a very, very hard time for us. My wife, my daughters, and my son needed that support. This has not been an easy time for my family. My wife was very close to her father and his passing has hurt us. All the guys [in the West Indies touring party] have been very close to me. It won't disrupt us. It will just make us a little stronger going into the Test series.

West Indies begin their three-Test series against England on Wednesday at Southampton's Ageas Bowl.

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