Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Phil, you're out!

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2015 | 10:00 AMLaurie Foster, Contributor
Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kusal Janith Perera (left) and teammate Dimuth Karunarathne (right) successfully appeal for the dismissal of West Indies’ batsman Marlon Samuels during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Galle, Sri Lanka, last Saturday.

Much has been said in support of and opposing the recently appointed West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) coach Phil Simmons.

The Trinidadian assumed the mantle following the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in March.

He had, before that, worked in a similar capacity with Ireland, where his work was duly recognised with good reports.

Noted was his ability to positively influence his players. His recent charge was that he had publicly commented on matters taken from the selection room meeting called to name the West Indies squad for the Sri Lanka tour, now in session. While declaring his failed attempts to have Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard enplaned for the ODI games, he went a few steps further.

As it was reported, while claiming that he was not given the "best 50-over ODI squad", he went on to blame "interference from outside".

In this columnist's view, the former swashbuckling Test opener put his foot deeper in his mouth' by revealing information that should have been left within the confines of the meeting room. It spoke to the matter that not only by him, but, Bravo and Pollard were supported by Clive Lloyd, the chairman of selectors, as well as West Indies Test and ODI , Jason Holder.

 

Selectors outed

The understandably irate Simmons explained, too, that Lloyd and himself were outvoted 3-2 in the selection process. The three other selectors are Courtney Walsh, Courtney Browne, and Eldine Baptiste. So, in effect, Simmons blew the cover of those three as the Bravo/Pollard selection dissenters.

For his public outburst, frowned on by his employers, the WICB, he was suspended. Baptiste took his position to be interim coach in Sri Lanka. A hearing will follow.

Foster's Fairplay, despite recognising and appreciating Simmons' sentiment of the best team to be made available, cannot give the wink to such utterances when they are made in public. Journalists have been known to make their breakout on leaks and this columnist has benefited in the past. This, in no way can justify what the now-suspended coach has done. There must be some sanctity afforded to what is held in private. To ignore that would be a serious breach of simply the right thing.

There is always juicy "suss'' to which many are drawn. It provides a type of crackers and salt fish that go with a social drinking lyme. However, it is against acceptable tenets and ideals of proper governance, especially when it comes from an area which is so dear to the hearts of the people - West Indies cricket.

Thoughts were sought from a highly respected by many, former Jamaica first-class player, a guide to and confidant of many young cricketers over time.

Leonard Chambers, affectionately known and respected as 'Skipper Len', 'Vijay' or just simply 'Manage', was this writer's sounding board.

 

Wrong move

Chambers responded, "Phil Simmons was wrong. Most definitely unethical for him to breach the selection code of conduct. He was outvoted by the majority in a democratic process and should, therefore, accept the decision, as required by the selection policy. For him to have addressed the media that the strongest team was not selected by the exclusion of Bravo and Pollard, and to name the selectors who opposed their selection, was a betrayal of trust and confidentiality."

It was a view chock-full of the principles the Jamaican cricketing fraternity had come to expect from the former administrator. Chambers, always clothed in admirable dignity and decency, had, as a young batsman, caught the eye of the great Renford Pinnock in a trial match for national selection.

In it he demonstrated his potential and class when scoring an eye-catching 70 against the likes of pacers Rudy Cohen and one of the best Wes Hall, who was coaching in Jamaica at the time. He had harsher words for Simmons, showing a preference for a former coach.

"He should be relieved of the coaching job permanently with Gus Logie the best individual suited for the job replacing him."

The outcome is eagerly awaited.

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