West Indies coach Phil Simmons has pinpointed five or six overs during the course of the second Test in the #raisethebat Series at Old Trafford, that were the catalyst for the visitors ending 113-run losers.

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, has admitted that a smidge of disappointment in an otherwise satisfactory victory over England lay in the fact that none of his batsmen was able to reach triple digits.

Returning Windies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel secured a 9-wicket haul, with Jermaine Blackwood crafting a well-earned and crucial second innings knock of 95 as the team registered a 4 wicket win for a 1-0 series lead in Southampton last week. Blackwood, who faced 154 balls and anchored the regional team’s innings, seemed well on the way to securing a second Test century, but was caught by James Anderson off the bowling of stand-in captain Ben Stokes. In the first innings, Kraigg Brathwaite battled to 65, with Shane Dowrich getting 61.

For the second Test, Simmons, who insists the Windies will have no room for complacency, pointed out that the aim is to see similar scores transformed to centuries.

“The fact that we had two guys getting 60s and a couple of guys getting 40s it was disappointing to not go on to score 100s. I like to see 100s on my scorecard at the end of an innings,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom conference call on Tuesday.

“I think that is one of the areas we need to improve on. If one of the guys who had scored 60 went on to score 100, the game might have been easier for us at the end, so we have to make sure that batsmen score big 100s and take games away from the opposition,” he added.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons was quick to dismiss any suggestions that England underestimated the team heading into the first Test last week.

On the back of a responsible 95 from Windies batsman Jermaine Blackwood, and a 9-wicket haul from pace bowler Shannon Gabriel, the regional team claimed a 1-0 lead after a 4-wicket win in Southampton, on Sunday.  With the omission of veteran fast bowler Stuart Broad from the first Test, however, former England captain Nasser Hussain suggested the hosts may have underestimated the West Indies.  England instead, opted for a line-up that included Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and James Anderson.

 "Hats off to West Indies for a super performance, but I'd like to ask England one question. If this had been the first game of the Ashes, would they have left out Stuart Broad?" Hussain asked in his post-match analysis.

Simmons has, however, refuted any suggestions of underestimation.

“I don’t think so.  England is a professional unit and I would not expect that from them. I think they thought on the day they needed to bat first.  Maybe they looked at how the match would end, the wicket and how dry it was at the time,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“There are many factors why they could have batted first. I don’t want to speculate but I don’t think they took us for granted,” he added.

“I think there is a choice between five quality bowlers, so one had to sit out.  It came to Broad that day but there are three back-to-back Test matches and England has maybe five or six Test matches, so sometimes we think that’s the way we have to go.”

The West Indies and England have had competitive outings in the last two Test match series between the teams.  The West Indies also won a Test match, in England, in 2017, before claiming the Wisden Trophy with a 2-1 win over England in the Caribbean last year.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes his captain, Jason Holder’s, 1-43, during England’s second innings was as important as any bowling feats throughout the fourth day.

The West Indies will need just two wickets tomorrow and attempt to minimize the 170-run lead the hosts have after they were restricted to 284-8.

The West Indies, leading England by 99 runs at the Ageas Bowl at the beginning of Saturday, were pushed back, as openers Rory Burns, 42, and Dom Sibley, 50, whittled down that lead.

After lunch, things got worse for the West Indies, who had to remain patient as Zak Crawley, 76, and stand-in skipper Ben Stokes, 46, threatened to take the game away from them, pushing England’s lead in the match to 135 before the latter was removed by a fine piece of bowling from Holder.

Holder, for the second time, turned Stokes around after just changing the field to include two gullies and had him caught by Shai Hope.

It’s what he does. He comes back and puts in the big spells for the team.

Simmons was speaking at the end of day four, highlighting what was a pivotal moment in the West Indies’ second stint on the field.

England then lost five wickets for 35 runs, as Shannon Gabriel, 3-62, and Alzarri Joseph, 2-40, reduced England to 284-8, a lead of 170.

“That’s the way he leads this team and I didn’t expect anything different,” said Simmons.

“He was bowling for a while and you expected him to change but he wanted to make that breakthrough for the team.”

Members of the West Indies squad knelt and held clenched fists as they showed full support for the fight against racism, inequality and injustice.

Before Wednesday’s start to the #RaiseTheBat series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, both West Indies and England teams announced they would wear the Black Lives Matter logo on the collars of their playing shirts.

They further demonstrated support by kneeling on the field and on the boundary.

All members of the West Indies squad also wore black gloves. In addition, a flag was flown over the team’s balcony with the composite logos of Cricket West Indies and Black Lives Matter on the traditional maroon background.

Speaking ahead of the series, West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons said:

PULLQuote: “It means a hell of a lot to all the players and all the staff on the tour. But it's not just about now, it's about life on the whole.”

The Black Lives Matter emblem was designed by Alisha Hosannah, the partner of Troy Deeney, captain of English Premier League side Watford. 

He was contacted by CWI and permission was granted for the logo to be displayed on the collar according to ICC regulations.

The logo has a clenched fist in place of the letter “A” in the word “Black”. It has also been used on the shirts of all 20 Premier League clubs since football returned behind closed doors following the break for COVID-19.

President of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), Conde Riley, is wrong to ask for the immediate sacking of West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons.

I have great respect for Mr Riley, who has served Barbados and West Indies cricket admirably for more than 20 years, but his utterances this week were, in a word, irresponsible.

Mr Riley’s comments have created an issue where there should be none.

Here are the facts as I understand them.

Simmons had a death in his family and there was a funeral which would, if he were to go, place him at risk of contracting COVID-19 because he is now outside of the bio-secure controls at Old Trafford, Manchester where the West Indies cricket team is staying ahead of a three-Test series against England.

Once outside of the bubble, Simmons (and the coach must have been fully aware of this, put himself at the risk of adding to the 313, 483 cases of Coronavirus in the United Kingdom.

The CWI and the England and Wales Cricket Board had come up with a strategy for ensuring the safety of cricketers in this series, inclusive of protocols for when somebody has to leave the bio-secure environment.

Those protocols satisfied both parties that those inside the environment would be kept safe from those who come into it from outside.

Simmons would now be treated like somebody coming from outside and would have to self-isolate and go through testing before being re-integrated with those who had remained inside the bubble.

That being said, once all protocols are observed, there would be no risk to the players and/or staff, even if Simmons contracts COVID-19. So far, he has tested negative on two occasions.

The BCA president pointed out that he had received a number of phone calls from concerned parents and members of the BCA with concerns about the safety of the players, given Simmons’ actions.

However, as a member of the CWI board, Riley should have known that the protocols, put in place before the players left the Caribbean, would have meant no added risk because of Simmons’ exit and subsequent return. There should never have been this sort of knee-jerk reaction.

As a member of the CWI board, it should have been incumbent on Mr Riley to assure those calling, that the maintenance of the players’ safety had not been compromised.

Instead, Mr Riley fuelled an unjustified panic regarding the situation and ‘put pen to paper’ in an email to the board, that clearly spoke to an uninformed position.

"I just heard on the radio that our head coach Mr Phil Simmons attended a funeral recently and is now being quarantined as a result. If this is true, I am calling for his immediate removal as head coach,” read the email.

Simmons wasn’t being ‘quarantined as a result’. That was part of the protocol agreed to before he left. And the president of the BCA should never ben using language like “if this is true.” Why wouldn’t you get all the facts before penning such a potentially damaging missive?

Mr Riley went on to call Simmons’ behaviour “inconsiderate and reckless” but I submit that it was carefully planned and not reckless at all. There was no danger to anyone but Simmons himself.

Cricket West Indies had made a public statement about Simmons’ activities and Riley’s email runs in stark contrast to that.

"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 and strictly followed protocols set up prior to the tour which addressed such scenarios," read the CWI statement.

How could Mr Riley and the CWI be so divergent in their views?

Mr Riley also suggested that the CWI be pro-active in anticipation of backlash from the English press.

No such backlash has come.

In fact, the only question that has come from the English press about Simmons’ actions, have had nothing to do with player safety.

Alzarri Joseph was asked if Simmons’ self-isolation would impact the ongoing practice game the West Indies are now playing in preparation for the first Test on July 8.

Joseph’s response was instructive.

According to the young fast bowler, the team of coaches was prepared for Simmons’ absence and everybody, including the players, already know what their jobs are.

Mr Riley should also know what his job is, and it isn’t to suggest that a coach be fired.

Now let’s hope the West Indies can put this behind them and get back to the business of retaining the Wisden Trophy at the end of #RaisetheBat series.

Phil Simmons, a sort of gentle giant, was an explosive batsman and a more than useful allrounder for the West Indies and at the first-class level before he turned to coaching.

His greatest achievements as a player came while playing league cricket in England.

One season, playing for Leicestershire, he scored 1244 runs and took 56 wickets. In that season, Simmons was said to have been bowling very quickly, a change from his generally medium-paced efforts.

But before those exploits, Simmons, who played in England during the 1980s and ‘90s, said while playing in the Northeast of the country, he faced quite a bit of racial abuse.

"It's not a nice thing to face. Especially in the leagues where you're by yourself sometimes. It affected my wife when I was up there. It's not a nice thing.

"I played in three or four different leagues. It was one particular league up in the northeast."

Simmons was speaking before the West Indies revealed it will be using a Black Lives Matter logo created by partner of Watford City football club captain, Troy Deeney, Alisha Hosannah.

At the time, Simmons was as yet unsure about how the West Indies would show its unity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The West Indies are in England for the #RaisyourBat series for the Wisden Trophy.

The three-Test series begins July 8 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton with two other games scheduled for Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons was granted permission to attend his father-in-law’s funeral in England last Friday. That’s the word from Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, who was responding to queries from Sportsmax.TV.

Simmons has been self-isolating since and will only be permitted to re-join the team on Thursday, July 2, if he returns two negative Covid-19 tests.

However, his decision to leave the bio-secure location has raised some concerns and questions over whether the head coach unilaterally decided to leave the facility where the team has been preparing for the coming three-Test series beginning July 8.

Grave assured that Simmons received permission from the Chief Medical Officers of Cricket West Indies and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

“Yes, he left to go to his father-in-law's funeral on Friday and is now going through the re-entry process having had his whole exit and entry approved and managed by the medical teams,” Grave said.

In Simmons’ absence, assistant coaches Roddy Estwick and Rayon Griffith will oversee the Windies four-day, first-class fixture that starts on Monday.

Floyd Reifer will be the batting coach

Despite picking a minor injury during the West Indies squad match at the Emirates, team skipper Jason Holder is expected to be fit in time for the start of the first Test in the #RaiseTheBat series on July 8.

West Indies vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite will get an opportunity to test the mettle of his leadership against his skipper when the two face-off in a three-day practice game inside Emirates Old Trafford in the morning.

The absences of Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo on the West Indies tour of England are still causing a few headaches for the structure of the team, with head coach Phil Simmons yet to decide on what is the best line-up ahead of the first game which begins July 8.

The West Indies are playing in the first bio-secure Test series since the COVID-19 pandemic impacted sports worldwide and Hetmyer, Bravo and Keemo Paul decided against touring England on the back of health concerns.

The absence of the trio means there are questions about how the team will line up but head coach Phil Simmons, speaking during a press conference this morning, believes the answers are to be found in the next few practice games.

According to the coach, who was responding to questions about the batting positions of skipper Jason Holder and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich when the three-Test series begins at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, the options are numerous.

“We have thought about quite a few things. The three-day game which starts tomorrow and then the four-day game will help us to decide how we structure the batting,” said Simmons.

“So there are possibilities in different directions. Jason could bat six, Dowrich could bat six, so we look at the three-day game and the four-day game and then make a decision from there,” he said.

There are also places to be considered with the returning Jermaine Blackwood to the batting line-up along with the likes Shamarh Brooks and Nkrumah Bonner and where they bat, if at all, in the new-look line-up.

The West Indies will play a three-day match game at their Emirates Old Trafford base beginning tomorrow, June 23, before a four-day encounter beginning on June 29.

 

Test Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach

 

Reserve Players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican

West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel will get a runout to see where his fitness is as the West Indies go into the first practice game of their England tour.

Former West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine has given a vote of confidence to the new Windies cricket team leadership tandem of captain Kieron Pollard and coach Phil Simmons.

The team has experienced mixed results since the duo took charge, with Simmons taking the reins in September of last year and Pollard taking charge of the ODI and T20 teams the following month.  Simmons previously served as head coach of the regional team in 2015 and led the Windies to their second T20 World title the following year.

Though the team is yet to put together a strong string of positive results, as they were most recently swept aside by Sri Lanka in three one day internationals, Ramnarine believes the youthful Windies squad has the ingredients to eventually get things right.

“Talent has always been there, no question about that. It takes time to groom them,” Ramnarine told the Sportstar.

“Governance is one aspect always been lacking significantly in sports generally, we in the West Indies have our own share of not-so-good people. The current captain Kieron Pollard, whom I know well, is a fantastic leader. He and Phil Simmons (head coach) bring a lot of positive things to the game, these are good guys. With time, these two have the ability, the skill and leadership to transform cricket in the West Indies.”

 

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes players must adjust quickly to conditions on the subcontinent when the team takes on Sri Lanka in the upcoming One Day International (ODI) series in Colombo.

Three changes have been made to the squad that recently played against Ireland in the Caribbean, with Darren Bravo, Rovman Powell and Fabien Allen returning to the squad.  With the exception of Bravo, Jason Holder, and captain Kieron Pollard very few of the team have experience playing in Asia.

“The most important thing is for us to adjust quickly to the conditions, that’s why we’ll go in there a few days early,” Simmons said.

“How we played in Lucknow against Afghanistan is the kind of wicket we’re going to be getting there and we need to play in the same way and to train in the same way,” he added.

“We need the same attitude that we played against India.  I think if we can get the attitude right we will come out on top in the series.”

The ODIs will be played at Sinhalese Sports Club; the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota; and the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy. The ODIs will be followed by two T20 Internationals in Kandy.

Led by West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons and Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams, Cricket West Indies (CWI) is hosting a West Indies Coaches Forum with regional franchise coaches on Tuesday, January 28, as part of a major initiative to develop the West Indies cricketers and coaches of the future.

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