Another yes-man needed
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.
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.”