Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Editorial: Simmons lacks judgement, breaches trust

Published:Wednesday | October 7, 2015 | 10:00 AM

Phil Simmons, the coach of the West Indies cricket team, described his outburst against fellow team selectors as a "schoolboy error in a moment of madness". Which it was. But worse!

For what Mr Simmons displayed was an appalling lack of judgement and a betrayal of trust, which places into question his eligibility to hold any position in which maintaining confidence is crucial to the effective management of an organisation. Discussion of team selection is one such environment.

But Mr Simmons did not only run his mouth loosely. He insulted the integrity of fellow selectors - Courtney Walsh, Courtney Browne and Eldine Baptiste - who were not swayed by his arguments suggesting them to be malleable men, easily manipulated by external influences, by which we presume he meant the management of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

The basis of his issue, by Phil Simmons' account, was the decision by the majority to exclude Trinidadians Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the team to tour Sri Lanka. According to Mr Simmons, he, the selection committee's chairman, Clive Lloyd, as well as non-voting member, team captain Jason Holder, wanted the duo, who had previously been excluded from the team. But the others were opposed.

Phil Simmons has since apologised, but is still to face a disciplinary panel. He has, in the meantime, been suspended from his job. Yet, critics for whom it is fashionable to support any argument with a whiff of sentiment against the leadership of the WICB say that the board's action, thus far, has been harsh and have called for leniency.

The process should run its course.

We expect that Mr Simmons' contract would expressly require or imply confidentiality on selection meetings. Even if it did not, a sensible man would know what was expected in the circumstance.

What Mr Simmons should have done simultaneously with his apology was to tender his resignation and leave it to the WICB to decide if it would be accepted. We are not sure whether Messrs Walsh, Browne or Baptiste, or the others, can trust him again.

 

Fine, but too short an innings

Measured by his on-field statistics, Steve Camacho would have been an ordinary cricketer, though no worse than most of the lot who play for the West Indies in the current era. In 11 Test matches, he scored 640 runs and averaged 20.09. In the first-class game, he played 76 matches, hit 4,079 runs and averaged just under 35.

But Steve Camacho's measure is more than his on-field play. He had a profound love for the game, of which he became a competent administrator and served with integrity, including during some of the most difficult periods of West Indies cricket.

Indeed, Mr Camacho, a Guyanese opening batsman, served first as secretary of the WICB before becoming the board's formal CEO. In the former role, as the board's chief administrative officer based in Kingston, he was at President Allan Rae's side when Lawrence Rowe's rebel group of West Indians defected to tour apartheid South Africa, in breach of an international boycott of the then white minority-ruled country. He also managed West Indies touring teams.

The game has lost a decent human being and a player whose contribution transcended the runs that came from his bat. May he continue his innings wherever it is that old cricketers go when they die.