Simmons sacking 'bizarre' - PM Mitchell says axing motivated by 'spite and vendetta'
NEW YORK (CMC):
Grenada's Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, has reacted angrily to the sacking of West Indies head coach Phil Simmons, blasting the move as "bizarre" and motivated by "spite and vendetta".
In a strongly worded press statement released yesterday afternoon, Mitchell expressed his "disgust" with the decision and said it was not in the best interest of West Indies cricket.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced the sacking on Tuesday as the team was preparing to leave for the United Arab Emirates for a series against Pakistan in all three formats of the game.
"The decision to fire coach Simmons is consistent with the actions of this current WICB, whose actions are usually motivated by spite and vendetta, rather than by what is in the best interest of West Indies cricket," said Mitchell, who is in New York on state business.
"I wish to go on record to register my disgust, although I am not surprised, at this latest move by the board, which will only be disadvantageous to the game and the players who have come to know and love working with coach Simmons."
Simmons was suspended for public pronouncements over the omissions of all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the one-day squad last year but was reinstalled after issuing a public apology.
"Coach Simmons had a positive impact on the players and could have resurrected West Indies cricket if he was allowed to create a learning environment for his players," said Mitchell.
"Instead, he was stymied by uncooperative administrators, antiquated structures and systems, and by a hostile working environment. Once again, the board failed to see and seize a glaring opportunity."
The Grenadian leader, a former national cricket captain and ardent follower of the game, also lamented the steady decline of West Indies cricket in the last two decades, saying: "The board's major problem over the years has not just been its leadership - some of its former leaders were competent people.
"However, it has been doomed to failure because of the environment and structures in which it has operated. Structure controls behaviour and performance," said the Grenadian leader, who has been spearheading efforts to restructure the WICB as chairman of CARICOM's subcommittee on cricket governance.
"If reform and restructuring are not incorporated in the board's improvement plan and strategy, West Indies cricket will remain trapped in its ever-increasing failure spiral."
The WICB has rejected new proposals for reform contained in a CARICOM governance report in which the main recommendation is for the body to be dissolved.
In its statement on Tuesday, the WICB said its decision to fire Simmons was based on public pronouncements of the coach, as well as differences in culture and strategic approach.