Sim­mons’ sack­ing de­mor­alised Windies – Bravo

Jamaica Gleaner - - TUESDAY SPORTS -

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC): ETERAN WEST Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo yes­ter­day re­vealed that the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) de­ci­sion to axe “trusted” head coach Phil Sim­mons on the day of the squad’s de­par­ture for Dubai had left the Caribbean side de­mor­alised for the on­go­ing lim­ited-overs tour against Pakistan.

Speak­ing on lo­cal ra­dio here, Bravo, who was a mem­ber of the Twenty20 squad that suf­fered a hu­mil­i­at­ing 3-0 white­wash last week, said the play­ers and man­age­ment team ap­peared “lost” dur­ing the se­ries and the dress­ing room lacked a pos­i­tive at­mos­phere.

He said Sim­mon in his short time with the squad, had built up a high level of trust with the play­ers, an el­e­ment that was now miss­ing from the West Indies squad.

“I’m very pas­sion­ate about the game, so when­ever I step on a cricket field I give a hun­dred per cent,” Bravo told i95.5 FM here.

“But the hon­est truth is, it is very dif­fi­cult for a bunch of guys – col­lec­tively – 15 guys to switch on and go play in a se­ries when on the day of the team trav­el­ling, they find out that their head coach was fired. Which or­gan­i­sa­tion in the world would do things like that?

“[Sim­mons was] the most suc­cess­ful coach the team had in re­cent years in his short stint. I’m sure the peo­ple of the Caribbean see the pos­i­tive signs with and within the team.

V“We went on, we won the [T20] World Cup ... [we played well] in the Tri-Na­tions against two very pow­er­ful ODI teams and yet still, mo­ments be­fore the team flies to Dubai, they fired the coach, so it will def­i­nitely af­fect the morale of the team and the play­ers.”

West Indies have looked a shadow of them­selves on tour, los­ing all five lim­ite­dovers games to date with a se­ries of or­di­nary per­for­mances, and this led to ram­pant spec­u­la­tion over the level of team morale ow­ing to Sim­mons’ sud­den de­par­ture.

The reign­ing T20 World cham­pi­ons, West Indies looked any­thing but as they crashed to nine-wicket, 16run and eight-wicket de­feats in the three-match se­ries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Their shock­ing ef­fort in the fi­nal game in Abu Dhabi, when they man­aged just 103 for five from their 20 overs bat­ting first, was per­haps the clearest sign that was all was not well be­hind the scenes.

Bravo, who got the only half-cen­tury for the tourists dur­ing the T20 se­ries, said the team en­vi­ron­ment had been som­bre through­out.

“I’ve been in the team for 12 years, and if it is one coach I ac­tu­ally see come there and the play­ers re­ally, re­ally look up to and re­ally en­joyed play­ing for [it was Sim­mons]. The play­ers had that trust with Sim­mons and it is no longer there any­more,” the out­spo­ken Bravo con­tin­ued.

“I was there in Dubai, and ba­si­cally play­ers were lost, the man­age­ment team looked lost ... we were look­ing like school kids again. The team meet­ings had no sort of pos­i­tive in­put or any­thing like that. It was like we were just there.”

Fol­low­ing Bravo’s de­par­ture at the end of the T20 se­ries, the West Indies one-day squad en­joyed lit­tle change in for­tune, los­ing both open­ing games in Shar­jah to al­ready con­cede the three­match se­ries.

Bravo, who in the past found him­self at the cen­tre of a player im­passe with the WICB over the aban­doned tour of In­dia two years ago, said if there was not a “dras­tic” in­ter­ven­tion soon, West Indies cricket could be se­ri­ously dam­aged.

“For me to come out and talk about th­ese things now is be­cause, one, I’m hurt­ing; two, I’m see­ing that our cricket ac­tu­ally has nowhere to go, and that’s the hon­est truth,” Bravo said frankly.

The WICB an­nounced just prior to the Pakistan se­ries that it had parted ways with Sim­mons be­cause of “dif­fer­ences in cul­ture and strate­gic ap­proach” but did not elab­o­rate.

His re­moval was the sec­ond ma­jor change in team man­age­ment in the space of weeks, as suc­cess­ful two-time T20 World Cup-win­ning cap­tain Dar­ren Sammy was sacked in Au­gust.


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