Afghanistan can upset anyone – Simmons
LUCKNOW, India (CMC):
Newly appointed West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, has warned his charges of the threat posed by his former side Afghanistan, and says execution and consistency will be crucial to success in the upcoming series.
West Indies arrived here this week for a six-match limited-overs series – three Twenty20 Internationals and One-Day Internationals – but are aware that even though Afghanistan are one of the youngest international sides, they will be dangerous in familiar subcontinent conditions.
“It’s a positive thing that I know much about the rivals but they are a young and energetic side who can upset anyone,” cautioned Simmons, who stepped down as Afghanistan coach following the ICC World Cup back in July.
“Over the last many years, they have become quite a confident unit. They will be playing on home turf; it’s not going to be easy for us. We have to make sure we are ready for what comes to us while facing an aggressive opposition.
“On both the occasions when Afghanistan beat West Indies, I was their coach, and this time I would like to see things in the reverse order. It would be important to see how the West Indies boys execute plans.”
He added: “If we really need to come up in the ladder, we need to have a consistent showing in all the series. We have a new captain (Kieron Pollard) and let’s see what changes he wants to make for the good.”
Simmons was named as West Indies coach earlier this coach, returning for his second stint in four years after the first one ended in acrimony.
Under his guidance, the Caribbean side captured the T20 World Cup in 2016, but in his absence they have slumped to number 10 in the format – below the Afghanis now ranked eighth – and number nine in ODIs.
Simmons, who has penned a four-year contract, said he hoped to see the return of a winning culture during his tenure.
“It’s a big responsibility on my shoulders after three years and it is different too,” said Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs during his career.
“I would love to start with what is necessary for now. As a coach I have a goal for myself and I want my team to be a consistent winning unit. West Indies should win more matches instead of losing more matches.”
He added: “We have won the World Cup twice and finished runners-up once, and now all the stakeholders need to work hard to get things right once again.
“It’s about getting the balance right, discipline right. Once we have all this, we can hope for a turnaround in fortunes for West Indies cricket.”
West Indies take on Afghanistan in the first ODI here next Wednesday.