An­other yes-man needed

Jamaica Gleaner - - TUESDAY SPORTS -

THE SACK­ING of Phil Sim­mons as head coach of the re­gional cricket team is the dra­matic cli­max of the lat­est episode of the now comedic drama once known as West Indies cricket.

The disin­gen­u­ous cliche posited as the rea­sons for Sim­mons dis­missal points to dif­fer­ences in ‘cul­ture and strate­gic ap­proach’.

Typ­i­cal and pre­dictable ‘hog­wash’ meant to dis­guise the real rea­sons for Sim­mons’ de­par­ture. It is the best known se­cret that Phil Sim­mons was sacked be­cause he spoke out of turn, and was not a will­ing ‘YESMAN’ to the whims and fan­cies of the ego­tis­ti­cal lead­er­ship of the West Indies Cricket Board.

The team’s poor re­turns in Test cricket, hav­ing lost seven, drawn four, and boast­ing just one win in the 12 Test matches played since the burly Trinida­dian took charge a year and half ago is also seen by some, as an in­dict­ment on the ef­fec­tive­ness of Sim­mons’ ten­ure.

More disin­gen­u­ous des­per­a­tion, as the com­plex­ity of the myr­iad of prob­lems crip­pling Test cricket in the re­gion has ren­dered sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment im­pos­si­ble no mat­ter, who the coach is, was, and will be in the fu­ture.

BREACH OF PRO­TO­COL

On the face of it, Sim­mons did breach pro­to­col when he re­vealed de­tails of sen­si­tive and con­fi­den­tial se­lec­tion pro­to­col, and it is rea­son­able to as­sume that those ac­tions would com­pro­mise the trust be­tween the coach and the board.

All things con­sid­ered, how­ever, Sim­mons’ big­gest sin for which he paid the ul­ti­mate pro­fes­sional price was ba­si­cally to de­mand that his best play­ers be made avail­able for se­lec­tion.

That is, in­deed, a no­ble and pro­fes­sional cause and a bat­tle worth fight­ing. Sim­mons had no agenda or self-serv­ing mo­tives, but to get what he deemed the best play­ers rep­re­sent­ing the West Indies.

This cur­rent melt­down had its gen­e­sis in that now in­fa­mous ill-fated tour of In­dia, and the sub­se­quent show­down be­tween the West Indies board and some of the “rogue play­ers” en­tan­gled in that saga.

There has been what seems a covert yet sys­tem­atic weed­ing out of th­ese ‘rogue play­ers’ and Sim­mons with all his good in­ten­tions got caught in the cross­fire when he be­gan ques­tion­ing the ab­sence of who he thought were play­ers, who were key to the team’s suc­cess.

The board’s agenda of get­ting even ob­vi­ously su­per­sedes any no­ble or pro­fes­sional in­tent that Sim­mons might have had to re­build West Indies cricket, in this sce­nario there could only be only one win­ner and that is the WICB.

The sac­ri­fice made by Sim­mons should not be ig­nored. It is up to the var­i­ous stake­hold­ers of the re­gional game to call a spade a spade, and do what is within our pow­ers to sal­vage this great in­sti­tu­tion of West Indies cricket.

UN­FAIR CRIT­I­CISMS

WICB pres­i­dent Dave Cameron and this cur­rent board have come un­der some un­fair and overblown crit­i­cisms but the heat they are get­ting for the sack­ing of Sim­mons is fully jus­ti­fied.

The in­ten­tions and ac­tions of Sim­mons were tar­get­ing the bet­ter­ment of West Indies cricket, his sack­ing was more about the preser­va­tion of sta­tus and the en­hance­ment of in­di­vid­ual egos.

As the search be­gins for an­other “YES-MAN” to guide the West Indies team, we might be yet to see the full ben­e­fits of the short stint of Sim­mons. His­tory might well cap­ture his ten­ure as a short, but very im­por­tant fight for a just cause.

In the words of the Amer­i­can war Gen­eral Ge­orge S. Pat­ton Jr. “It is bet­ter to fight for some­thing than live for noth­ing.”

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